NASA’s ingenuity mars helicopter became the first aircraft to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet. This was announced by the American space agency on Monday. However, what is interesting about this news is that this helicopter uses the same chip that is used by Samsung Galaxy S5 and few other Android smartphones.
This helicopter, which achieved a feat after a controlled flight on mars, runs on a QUALCOMM chip – the same one used by Samsung Galaxy S5 and OnePlus one, per a report published by 9to5google.
Now to answer the curious question as to why NASA opted for this, the report said: ‘Of course, instead of running Android, NASA opted for a more traditional Linux operating system. This processor and operating system handle things like the helicopter’s visual navigation system and the flight control systems”
What was once thought impossible to achieve has been achieved by this solar-powered helicopter. It has been built by NASA’s Jet propulsion laboratory and the agency confirmed at 3.46 am PDT as per data received from the perseverance mars rover.
Since this success, people have been overjoyed at NASA. Their acting NASA administrator said in a press release that “Ingenuity is the latest in a long and storied tradition of NASA projects achieving a space exploration goal once thought impossible”. He also added
“The X-15 was a pathfinder for the space shuttle. Mars Pathfinder and its Sojourner rover did the same for three generations of Mars rovers. We don’t know exactly where Ingenuity will lead us, but today’s results indicate the sky – at least on Mars – may not be the limit.”
The key objectives of the Mars helicopter ingenuity was to prove a powered flight in the red planet’s thin atmosphere, demonstrate miniaturized flying technology and operate autonomously by using solar power to charge its batteries. In addition, it also relied on internal heater for maintaining the operational temperature during cold nights.
This helicopter has no science instruments, which is quite interesting. It is 19.3 inches tall and is 4 pounds i.e., 1.8 kgs heavy, and is said to be a demonstration of the US space agency’s technology and isn’t made to support perseverance mission.
One of the key objectives of the perseverance mission is to look for signs of ancient microbial life. The agency is hoping it’ll help in knowing whether they can explore the Red Planet and have an aerial perspective of the same or not.