The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Is Gearing Up for Its First Flight to Mars
Before the Ingenuity Mars sets out to space, which NASA said is targeting to occur around April 8, it has to complete a series of daunting steps that will confirm that the 4-pound rotorcraft will be able to survive the harsh conditions of Mars.
The Ingenuity Mars helicopter will attempt the first powered controlled flight on Mars. The milestone event will happen in April, according to NASA.
Before the Ingenuity Mars sets out to space, which NASA said is targeting to occur around April 8, it has to complete a series of daunting steps that will confirm that the 4-pound rotorcraft will be able to survive the harsh conditions of Mars without the help of NASA’s Perseverance rover, CNN reported.
In the meantime, Ingenuity remains attached to the belly of Perseverance and attached to the rover's power supply. On Sunday, the rover deployed debris shield that protected the helicopter during the rover’s landing on Mars, a report said.
Currently, the rover is currently is in transit to the airfield, where it will attempt to fly, NASA officials said. Once deployed, Ingenuity will have 30 Martian days, or sols, which equals 31 Earth days, to conduct its test flight campaign, NASA said in a statement.
The 33-by-33-foot airfield that Ingenuity's team has chosen to test the helicopter's flight has been named in honor of Jakob van Zyl, former director for solar system exploration and associate director for project formulation and strategy at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who died in August 2020, CNN reported.
"Ingenuity is an experimental engineering flight test -- we want to see if we can fly at Mars," said MiMi Aung, project manager for Ingenuity Mars helicopter at JPL. "We are confident that all the engineering data we want to obtain both on the surface of Mars and aloft can be done within this 30-sol window.”
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