NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter is about to take its first historic flight. The agency reported that the UAV was deployed on Mars by its Perseverance rover after a final four-inch fell to the Red Planet’s soil on April 3rd. The only obstacle now is getting to the aircraft, which could take place as early as April 11th and have data the next day. Ingenuity requires more time to charge its battery through solar cells.
The first’trip’ would be a 30-second hover at 10 feet to demonstrate the helicopter’s airworthiness. NASA intends to conduct up to four more flights over the next 30 days, with durations of up to 90 seconds and distances of up to 160 feet from the rover. Ingenuity is intended to demonstrate that flight is feasible in Mars’ incredibly low-density atmosphere, minimal gravity, and high temperatures — opening the way for potential missions to include flight-based exploration.
#MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed! Its 293 million mile (471 million km) journey aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the final drop of 4 inches (10 cm) from the rover’s belly to the surface of Mars today. Next milestone? Survive the night. https://t.co/TNCdXWcKWE pic.twitter.com/XaBiSNebua
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) April 4, 2021
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