Science & Technology

Watch — and hear — NASA’s Ingenuity copter zip around on Mars

NASA simply launched video and audio of its mini Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, flying around the Martian floor throughout its fourth flight take a look at, as captured by the craft’s robotic associate Perseverance from practically a soccer area’s distance away.

The footage, combining audio and video of an Ingenuity flight take a look at for the primary time, begins off with the mushy, rumbling hum of the Martian wind. Ingenuity could be seen stationary on the floor within the right-hand nook of the body earlier than taking off for flight. When the copter ascends, the ambient hum intensifies; the faint, muffled sound of Ingenuity’s twin rotor blades spinning at 2,537 RPM picks up and it will definitely zips throughout the body.

Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z system captured the video, a sequence of a whole lot of pictures compiled at six frames per second. That digicam has returned gorgeous of Ingenuity up to now, however these views had been by no means synced with audio till now.

The audio was recorded utilizing Perseverance’s SuperCam laser instrument, a tool that zaps Mars rocks with a laser beam and information the zapping sounds with an onboard microphone. Whereas a spectrometer visually analyzes the make-up of the mud kicked up by the laser, the microphone captures audio to assist scientists get an aural thought of how laborious the rock is.

That microphone labored extra time final Friday to carry us the primary AV expertise of Ingenuity’s fourth flight in its legendary take a look at marketing campaign.

David Mimoun, science lead for SuperCam’s microphone, stated in an announcement that prior checks on Earth indicated the system would barely have the ability to hear Ingenuity’s flight. However listening to the mild hum of the helicopter’s blades on Mars was “an excellent shock,” he stated. “This recording can be a gold mine for our understanding of the Martian ambiance.”

The four-pound helicopter nestled inside NASA’s Perseverance rover on February 18th and was on the floor on April 4th. Its on April nineteenth made historical past as the primary to happen on one other world. Initially, engineers deliberate to conduct simply 5 flight demonstration checks with Ingenuity inside a 31-day window so Perseverance — working as each a photographer and communications hub for Ingenuity — can carry on with its main mission of looking for indicators of historic life.

However engineers, impressed with the helicopter’s efficiency, one other 31-day mission to hold out a couple of extra flights whereas Perseverance begins its hunt close by.

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