官方APP下载:英语学习播客(支持苹果手机、安卓手机)
创办于2003年
UNSV记不住?那就记中文谐音“忧安思危”吧!
  Slow and Steady Wins the Race!
UNSV英语学习频道 - Slow and steady wins the race!
公众微信服务号(英语全能特训)
英语全能特训(微信公众服务号)
UNSV英语学习频道淘宝网店
客服短信:18913948480
客服邮箱:web@unsv.com
初级VIP会员
全站英语学习资料下载。
¥98元/12个月

NASA Helicopter Makes Historic Test Flight on Mars

作者:Bryan Lynn 发布日期:4-20-2021

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter has successfully completed a takeoff and landing on Mars.

The U.S. space agency says Monday's flight was historic because it marked the first time any aircraft had performed powered, controlled flight on another planet.

The flight was announced Monday by flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California. The team said it was able to confirm the flight after receiving data and images from its Mars explorer, Perseverance. The explorer was carrying Ingenuity when it successfully landed in Mars' Jezero Crater in February.

NASA said the solar-powered experimental aircraft lifted off the surface of Mars at 10:34 UTC. Controllers chose the day and time based on Ingenuity's readiness and when flight conditions were acceptable.

Ingenuity climbed about 3 meters and hovered for 30 seconds before landing safely on the surface, NASA reported. It added that Ingenuity's first flight was autonomous. That means the aircraft piloted itself with the help of built-in guidance and control systems developed by JPL's team.

The space agency said the operation "was full of unknowns" because of the very different conditions on Mars compared to Earth. For example, gravity's pull on the surface of Mars is one-third of Earth's. And the Red Planet's atmosphere is much thinner, with one percent of Earth's atmospheric pressure. To complete a successful flight, engineers said the helicopter's blades needed to spin five times faster than they would have to on Earth.

The space agency said data must be sent and received from Mars using orbiting satellites and land-based communication systems. Because of this, the helicopter "cannot be flown with a joystick," NASA said in a statement. The flight of the 49-centimeter tall vehicle also was not observable from Earth as it happened.

Perseverance acted as a communications link between the helicopter and Earth. It also documented Ingenuity's activities with its high-tech imaging equipment. Ingenuity itself does not contain scientific instruments. It was designed only to demonstrate whether such aircraft could be valuable in future exploration activities on Mars or other planets.

The first picture captured was a black and white image showing the helicopter's shadow as it hovered above Mars. Next came color video of Ingenuity's landing that was taken by Perseverance.

Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk praised the successful flight in a statement. "Ingenuity is the latest in a long and storied tradition of NASA projects achieving a space exploration goal once thought impossible," he said.

Additional flight tests are to be carried out, with plans to see if Ingenuity can go a little higher and farther each time. NASA said such helicopters could assist astronauts on future search and collection missions.

NASA has compared Ingenuity's attempt to the Wright Brothers' first flight of a motor-driven airplane near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903. In recognition of that historic flight, a small piece of cloth that covered a wing from the Wright Brothers plane was attached to the helicopter for its first flight on Mars.

After Ingenuity's successful flight, project leader MiMi Aung said: "We've been talking so long about our Wright Brothers moment, and here it is."

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from NASA, The Associated Press and Reuters. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

hover – v. to stay up in the air but without moving anywhere

autonomous adj. independent and having the power to operate automatically without human involvement

blade – n. an arm of a propeller that spins to lift an aircraft off the ground

joystick – n. a handle used to control movements of a computer game, machine or aircraft

shadow – n. a dark shape that appears on a surface when someone or something moves between the surface and a source of light

achieve – v. to succeed in doing something

indicate – v. to show that something exists or is likely to be true

版权所有©2003-2019 南京通享科技有限公司,保留所有权利。未经书面许可,严禁转载本站内容,违者追究法律责任。 互联网经营ICP证:苏B2-20120186
网站备案:苏公网安备 32010202011039号苏ICP备05000269号-1中国工业和信息化部网站备案查询
广播台