NASA is prepared to try to fly the company’s Mars helicopter, called Ingenuity. This is bound to happen in July.
This helicopter is part of the Mars 2020 mission, where we also got to meet the Perseverance rover, which is a robot made to help astronomers find if there is life on the Red Planet, or if it has ever been possible.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine stated: “The thing that has me the most excited as the NASA administrator is getting ready to watch a helicopter fly on another world. That’s something that’s never been done before in human history, and here we are.”
Scientists have been working on Ingenuity for more than six years, and it is attached to the underside of the rover. That’s where it will be placed while traveling to the Red Planet. After it gets to Mars in February 2021, and it will go through what NASA’s Curiosity rover had to go through – the seven minutes of terror – It will separate itself from the main rover.
Ingenuity will be at least 160 feet – that’s 50 meters – away from the rover itself when trying to fly. But Perseverance will be in control of the flight attempts, by using its 23 onboard cameras.
According to NASA, Getting it to Mars, getting it safely off the vehicle, we’re going to learn a lot. We are not looking for an extensive and ambitious return from this technology, and we’re looking to learn those first few things that we need to learn.”
The helicopter will try at first three flights on Mars, but the number might change due to how the mission proceeds. They will take one flight at a time.
Both the Ingenuity helicopter and the Perseverance rover will leave Earth from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 20.