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Ingenuity Helicopter Being Readied for Flight on Mars

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EIRNS—NASA had a briefing yesterday to outline the upcoming activity for the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars. The diminutive vehicle, just over 4 pounds, will be the first powered, controlled vehicle to fly on another planet. (Europe and the Soviet Union have launched balloons in the past.) Ingenuity carries a small piece of fabric from the Wright brothers’ 1903 flyer.

The helicopter’s mission is a technology demonstration. It runs for 30 days, with hopefully up to five test flights, following 10 days of tests.

Perseverance has been scouting the area, looking for suitable, relatively flat terrain, to function as an airfield for the helicopter. It has been aided by experts in Mission Control, who studied images of the region using satellite data of the area, and then added in images from the ground.

On the first flight, Ingenuity will make a modest climb, hover for 30 seconds, and then land. Perseverance will be nearby taking pictures and video. JPL is aiming for April 8 for the first flight. [mgf]

Read also: NASA Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Prepares for First Flight