Recently, the persistence rover of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which has been conducting exploration activities on Mars for two years, captured the appearance of floating dawn clouds on the red planet.
The new cloud image recently released by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) was taken with one of the rover’s navigation cameras just before sunrise on Mars on the 18th. This day was the 738th Sol (SOL, 24 hours and 37 minutes) since Perseverance reached the surface of Mars.
According to NASA, most of the clouds on Mars are within 60 kilometers of the earth. Clouds like these provide information about intermediate atmospheric conditions on Mars at an altitude of about 50 to 80 km. Clouds also help scientists understand the weather on Mars. Knowing when and where clouds form can provide a variety of information, including the composition of the Martian atmosphere, temperature and wind.
Perseverance reached a new location called ‘Berea’ on the 23rd. Perseverance’s official Twitter account said, “Having moved quite a bit recently, I’m in a new place. I plan to investigate some interesting rocks here in more detail.”
Meanwhile, the exploration helicopter ‘Ingenuity’, which reached Mars on February 18, 2021 with Perseverance, recently succeeded in its 48th flight.
According to NASA, Ingenuity moved a horizontal distance of about 400m on the 21st at a top speed of 16.7km/h. The maximum flight height was 12 m, and the required time was about 150 seconds. The small helicopter was a preliminary observation of potential targets for study by the exploration partner Perseverance Rover.
In April 2021, Ingenuity, which made the history of mankind’s first successful powered trip from an extraterrestrial planet, was originally scheduled to fly five times in just 30 days. However, so far, it has continued for almost two years and is preparing for its 50th flight.
NASA said that Ingenuity has traveled a cumulative 11,000m on Mars so far, recorded a maximum altitude of 14m and a maximum speed of approximately 21.6km per hour. The cumulative flight time is approximately 84 minutes.
JPL previously described Ingenuity as “a perfect example of the utility of a flight platform on Mars”, saying, “Each flight brings a new perspective that has never been seen before.”
Meanwhile, Ingenuity is designed to be light but strong enough to withstand the harsh conditions of Mars. Ingenuity weighs just 1.8kg. However, no matter how light it is, it is not easy to fly on Mars, where the density of the atmosphere is only 1% of that of Earth.
Ingenuity’s wings rotate at 2,400 revolutions per minute to allow it to rise even in this Martian atmosphere. It is to overcome the low atmospheric density by turning the wings quickly. This rotation speed is several times greater than the speed of a helicopter carrying people on Earth.
Reporter Yang Min-ha (email@example.com)