It seems that the Perseverance rover will have a special passenger when it gets inside Mars’ Jezero Crater in February 2021. We are talking about the first helicopter which will fly to another world. It is called Ingenuity, and it has 1.8 kilograms. It will be placed on the mid of Perseverance, in a spot that offers about 24 inches of ground clearance, with the inclusion of the delivery system of the helicopter. Ingenuity is only 12 cm shorter than the clearance area.
Chris Salvo, the leader of the project, stated that there’s not really a lot of room to play with and that if they attached the helicopter horizontally, they might find just enough to get the job done.
Ingenuity will remain attached to Perseverance for two months after the rover lands on the 18th of February, 2021. These two machines will look for a flat area where Ingenuity would be able to do test operations.
The team from Earth will have to find a zone that’s 33 feet by 33 feet, which Perseverance can monitor. The deployment of Ingenuity will happen just after Perseverance will drive into the center of the airfield. Then, operators will spend six Earth days, making sure all systems work correctly before getting the helicopter ready to fly.
According to NASA, “The deployment process begins with the release of a locking mechanism that keeps the helicopter in place. Then a cable-cutting pyrotechnic device fires, allowing a spring-loaded arm that holds the helicopter to begin rotating Ingenuity out of its horizontal position. Along the way, a small electric motor will pull the arm until it latches, bringing the helicopter body completely vertical with two of its spring-loaded landing legs deployed. Another pyrotechnic fires, releasing the other legs.”