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Mars, clues about 'sand devils' from the Ingenuity drone

2021-06-22T14:03:17.675Z

From its flights, useful information to understand the phenomenon (ANSA) In its flights to Mars, NASA's Ingenuity helicopter drone has become the unexpected protagonist of a scientific experiment: the sand raised by its blades is carried by the air more easily than previously thought. To detect the phenomenon is the journal Nature on its website. The interest is in the fact that thanks to Ingenuity it could become possible to understand how Martian 'sand devils' are b



In its flights to Mars, NASA's Ingenuity helicopter drone has become the unexpected protagonist of a scientific experiment: the sand raised by its blades is carried by the air more easily than previously thought.

To detect the phenomenon is the journal Nature on its website.



The interest is in the fact that thanks to Ingenuity it could become possible to understand how Martian 'sand devils' are born, that is the miniature tornadoes due to the heat of the air.



The small automated helicopter brought to the red planet together with the Perseverance rover has performed 7 flights in these months: the first lasted a few seconds and were used to understand if it was really possible to be able to fly drones in the rarefied Martian atmosphere, just 1% of the density that of the earth, while the subsequent ones allowed the vehicle to fly for several tens of meters and rise over 5 meters in height.


The dust raised by Ingenuity (source: NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASU / MSSS / SSI)



The flights were all captured by the cameras of the Perseverance rover and, analyzing the frames, the researchers found something unexpected. According to many, the oddity is the amount of dust raised by the helicopter's blades even when it is 5 meters high.



A phenomenon clearly visible in the fourth of the seven flights where the drone, engaged in a displacement of 130 meters, leaves behind a tail of dust considered too thick (considering the height and density of the air).



According to the researchers, analyzing the traces left by the dust lift will now help to understand important elements on the physics of the Martian atmosphere and enigmatic phenomena such as the so-called sand devils observed several times by both rovers and satellites.  

Source: ansa

All tech articles on 2021-06-22

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