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Mars Ingenuity helicopter prepares for first flight

A successful test would mark the first powered, controlled flight on another planet.
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 5:30 PM CDT
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PASADENA, Calif. (WMTV) - More than a month after a successful landing on the Red Planet, the Rover Perseverance snapped a selfie - featuring not only itself, but the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. The helicopter has been prepped to take its first flight - NASA teams want to get this done before Sunday, April 8th.

A pre-flight briefing is scheduled for Friday afternoon, but results won’t beam back to Earth for several hours after the flight. The flight window relies on local weather & wind conditions. As soon as the NASA team punches in the final instructions, Ingenuity will test its rotors before lifting off. The helicopter will hover at 10 feet above the surface for about 30 seconds. Then the helicopter will descend and touch down.

Although a simple procedure, the challenge is great. Mars’ atmosphere is incredibly thin - less than 1% the density of Earth’s atmosphere. The helicopter has also survived incredibly cold nights - as cold as -130°F. If the test is successful, the data could be used in future missions.

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