NASA will attempt to increase Ingenuity’s rotor speed to 2,800 rpm, which is more than a 10% increase on NASA’s previous rpm record of 2,537 rpm. Grip explains that at a rotor speed of 2,800 rpm Ingenuity’s blades will be approaching the speed of sound on Mars, which is about 3/4 of what the speed of sound is here on Earth. Grip says, “A rotor speed of 2,800 rpm, in combination with wind and helicopter motion, could cause the tips of the rotor blades to encounter the air at nearly 0.8 Mach – that is, 80% of the speed of sound on Mars.” “(The speed of sound on Mars is somewhat lower than we are used to – about ¾ the speed of sound on Earth.) If the blade tips get sufficiently close to the speed of sound, they will experience a very large increase in aerodynamic drag that would be prohibitive for flight. For Ingenuity’s rotor we do not expect to encounter this phenomenon until even higher Mach numbers, but this has never been confirmed in testing on Earth”, Grip added.
For more information on Ingenuity or its upcoming flight, check out this link here.
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- Headline: NASA’s next helicopter flight to Mars, blades will reach 80% of the speed of sound
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