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April 19! NASA confirms the time for the first flight of the Witt helicopter to Mars


On April 18th, according to foreign media reports, NASA announced on Saturday local time that the agency has confirmed the first flight time of its Mars helicopter "Wit" on Mars, which is in April, Eastern Time. 3:30 am on the 19th (15:30 on April 19, Beijing time).

The helicopter, weighing about 2 kg, arrived on Mars with the Perseverance rover on February 18, but its first flight has been delayed several times. Wit landed on the surface of Mars on April 4 and is always undergoing testing and inspection. It spent the first night alone on the cold surface of Mars and passed the first test.

The Gizwits was originally scheduled to make its first flight to Mars on April 11, but NASA said last weekend that high-speed rotor test data showed that the Gizwits computer software had malfunctioned and tried to switch from "preflight mode" to "flight mode" in advance. In order to solve the software failure, the first flight date was postponed again.

The engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory decided to modify and reinstall the WIT’s flight control software, a process that took several days. NASA said on Twitter on Friday evening that the Gizwits had completed a full-speed rotation test and was preparing for its first test flight. While reinstalling and testing the flight software, Giz always waited on the surface of the Jezero crater on Mars.

Although wit is not the main focus of Perseverance’s mission on Mars, this small helicopter may allow humans to make a leap in the exploration of Mars and other celestial bodies. It can transform into a "scout" and fly in front to help the rover navigate and reach areas where other ground vehicles may not be able to reach.

Once the witty takes off, it will climb to a height of about 10 feet (3 meters) above the ground, then hover in place for 30 seconds, and finally turn in mid-air and land again on the surface. The bottom camera can take 30 photos of the ground per second, and the other cameras will face the horizon and take photos while flying. At the same time, the camera on the Perseverance will also record the flight of the Wit.

After the first test is completed, according to the plan, the Gizwits is expected to conduct a series of higher and longer test flights within 30 Mars days. Perseverance will monitor the progress of the helicopter's test flight, and then continue its own mission, including searching for signs of ancient life on Mars, and collecting samples for future retrieval.

Coincidentally, when the news of the successful full-speed rotation test of the Wit came, it was the 154th anniversary of the birth of Wilbur Wright, one of the Wright brothers who built the first plane to successfully fly on the earth. . The plane is named "Flyer 1" (Flyer 1), and a small piece of fabric from the plane is also carried on board Witt. (Little)

Source: NetEase Technology Report, translated by Google Translate

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