Mars Helicopter’s blades can be seen in this video performing a wiggle test

April 17, 2021

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s carbon fiber blades can be seen in this video taken by the Mastcam-Z instrument aboard NASA's Perseverance Mars rover on April 8, 2021, the 48th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The four blades are arranged into two 4-foot-long (1.2-meter-long) counter-rotating rotors that can spin at roughly 2,400 rpm. The video shows the blades performing a wiggle test before the actual spin-up to ensure they were working properly.

The helicopter weighs about 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) on Earth, and about 1.5 pounds (0.68 kilograms) on Mars. It stands 1.6 feet (0.49 meters) high. It's four specially made carbon fiber blades are arranged into two 4-foot-long (1.2-meter-long) counter-rotating rotors that spin at roughly 2,400 rpm. The helicopter's fuselage is 5.4 inches by 7.7 inches by 6.4 inches (13.6 centimeters by 19.5 centimeters by 16.3 centimeters); it has four carbon composite landing legs, each 1.26 feet (0.384 meters) long, giving the helicopter about 5 inches (13 centimeters) of clearance above the ground. It is powered by a solar array on top of the rotor system, which charges six lithium-ion batteries

A key objective for Perseverance's mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA's Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover. The Mastcam-Z investigation is led and operated by Arizona State University in Tempe, working in collaboration with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, California on the design, fabrication, testing, and operation of the cameras.

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