In recent weeks, the ambitious design of the helicopter Ingenuity, has caught the attention of ubiquitous space fans at NASA. The company wants to attempt to make the first controlled flight to another planet.
If the test flight is successful, it may lay the groundwork for real flights to Mars in the future.
The NASA partner, Thomas Zerbuchen and the project manager Ingenuity, MiMi Aung, answered questions on Twitter on Wednesday. «Could a future Mars helicopter be upgraded to carry an astronaut?One asked Twitter user.
The answer of the experts was somewhat heartbreaking, since according to them, the atmosphere of Mars is extremely thin compared to Earth. «Unfortunately, we can not transport people to Mars. There is not enough atmosphere thereSaid Aung. «But flying vehicles will be able to carry significant payloads for astronauts and scientific exploration.»
Ingenuity propellers are about 1,2 meters from one end to the other. Aung said the future propellers of the Mars helicopter could reach 3,5 meters to carry heavier loads. However, this is still a long way from carrying an entire human being.
Ingenuity is a demonstration of high standard and highly rewarding technology. It will be exciting if it works, but there are no guarantees. NASA has not yet set a new date for the first test flight of the helicopter, as the flying vehicle needed a software update.
Zerbuchen and Aung answered other questions during the Twitter conversation. Zerbuchen said his biggest fear for Ingenuity's first flight would be a strong gust of wind that would push and knock down the helicopter. He also said that the team hopes that the flight of the motorized aircraft will take place sometime next week.
However, before we start thinking about traveling to Mars, Ingenuity will help scientists answer the basic question of what it takes to fly to Mars?