Helicopters On Mars

On Monday April 19, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter made the first sol powered controlled flight by an aircraft on a planet besides Earth. During that short flight it took off vertically, hovered and landed. Since then it has made more flights and their success has prompted NASA to extend its testing phase and experiment with more complex movements.

Back here on Earth, Primary classes watched video of the flight this week then constructed a simpler paper version of the helicopter to test different experimental designs and configurations.

The R/1 class focused on following instructions and using tools to successfully cut out the helicopter template and fold along creases. We had fund releasing them while standing on chairs in the classroom.

The Year 4/5 and 5/6 class focused on experimental designs. Once successful models were made, students tweaked their models to increase flight times by making smaller and larger versions or ones with multiple blades. They released their models from higher points including the playground bridge and fort.

The flight is a huge first for science and technology, coming just 117 years since the Wright Brothers flew the first controlled power flight on Earth. Emphasising the connection, Ingenuity carries fabric from the Wright Brothers’ plane’s wing. Primary classes will investigate more aspects of the Mars mission over the term, looking at robotics, programming and exploration