The Mars Ingenuity helicopter will fly over the surface of the planet on April 30, 2021.
NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASU / MSSS via AP
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – First came the amazing pictures, then the video. Now NASA is sharing the sounds of their little helicopter buzzing through the thin Martian air.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California released that first audio Friday just before Ingenuity made its fifth test flight, a short one-way drive to a new airfield.
During the fourth flight a week earlier, the faint hum of the helicopter blades, which rotate at more than 2,500 revolutions per minute, is barely audible. It almost sounds like a deep, distant mosquito or other flying insect.
This is because the 1.8-kilogram helicopter was more than 80 meters away from the microphone of the Perseverance rover. The rumbling gusts of wind also masked the sound of the helicopter.
Scientists isolated the sound of the whirring blades and enlarged it to make it easier to hear.
Ingenuity – the first powered airplane to fly on another planet – arrived on Mars on February 18 and clung to Perseverance’s belly. His first flight was April 19th; NASA named the Wright Brothers Field take-off and landing site in honor of Wilbur and Orrville, who made the world’s first airplane flights in 1903. A stamp-sized piece of wing cloth from the original Wright Flyer is on board Ingenuity.
The $ 85 million tech demo was supposed to end a few days ago, but NASA extended the mission by at least a month to get more flight time.
For the 108-second test flight on Friday afternoon, the helicopter flew south in the same direction that the rover is moving. Once over its new airfield, the helicopter climbed to double its previous height – 33 meters (10 meters) -, took photos, and then landed. The two airfields are 129 meters apart.
After completing the first phase of the helicopter, the rover can now search for rocks that may contain signs of previous microscopic life. Core samples are collected for eventual return to Earth.