NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity makes history
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Ingenuity's flight is a technology and engineering achievement.
Imagine that you are flying your drone on a planet 180 million kilometres away. It takes 20 minutes for your command to reach the planet – and the pictures you see of what is happening are 20 minutes old. You cannot take evasive or corrective action if anything goes wrong, it would take too late. This is the type of situation that the NASA's engineers did not wish to experience on the first flight of the "Ingenuity" helicopter on Mars on April 19.
Mars is currently a dry and irradiated planet according to our robot friends, Perseverance and Curiosity. Evidence suggests that Mars was once a wet planet, however, there is substantial debate regarding Mars' origins and the life span of its long-lost bodies of water.
Some theory suggests that it might have been because of active volcanoes that melted the Martian permafrost, while others suggest that it was because of a cataclysmic asteroid impact.
Planes can fly quite easily without engines, as gliders (planes without engines), paper planes, and gliding birds show us.
A plane's engine is designed to move the plane forward at high speed. The wings move a plane upward. At high speed, the air flows fast over the wings and throws the air down toward the ground, generating an upward force, or lift. The upward force overcomes the plane's weight and keeps it in the sky.
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