FIRST FLIGHT OF NASA’S ‘INGENUITY’ CHOPPER IN MARS SET FOR APRIL 19
NASA has again delayed its first flight on another planet as it seeks to fix technical issues in the Ingenuity miniature helicopter, the US space agency said, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
The first flight of Ingenuity - which arrived on Mars onboard the Perseverance rover - was rescheduled for 0430 GMT on Monday, according to the US space agency. But there was always the possibility that the flight might have to be postponed again.
The miniature helicopter had previously been scheduled to fly a week ago Sunday, April 11. That flight was moved to the 14th. A high-speed spin test of Ingenuity's rotors on April 9 had ended early when problems arose during the transition from pre-flight to flight mode. The space agency said that since then, the miniature chopper has successfully completed a rapid spin test.
The test flight will see the helicopter, which weighs in at around 1.8 kilograms, attempt to fly about 3 meters high, remain in one place for around 30 seconds, then return to the surface of Mars. It would be the first flight of an aircraft on another planet.
The helicopter is powered with lithium batteries and has the capacity for several more flight attempts for about one month. It faces extreme conditions on Mars: temperatures of minus 90 degrees Celsius, low gravity, and a thin atmosphere. Ingenuity traveled to Mars aboard the Perseverance rover, which weighs around 1,000 kilograms and is the size of a small car.
The rover arrived on the Red Planet in February after traveling 472 kilometers over 203 days of flight. It landed in a dried lake spanning 45 kilometers called the Jezero Crater, which it is to inspect in the coming two years.