Science & Technology

NASA delays flight of Ingenuity Mars helicopter until next week

Miami, US, Apr 10 (EFE).- NASA has rescheduled the first flight of its Mars helicopter Ingenuity “to no earlier than Apr.14.”

The takeoff from Mars’ Jezero crater, the first attempt at a powered, controlled flight on the Red Planet, was initially scheduled for Sunday.

It means that the helicopter will now remain on the surface of Mars until Wednesday next week.

“During a high-speed spin test of the rotors on Friday, the command sequence controlling the test ended early due to a ”watchdog’ timer expiration,” the agency said in a statement Saturday.

“The helicopter is safe and healthy and communicated its full telemetry set to Earth.”

The project has been compared to the feat of the Wright brothers, the aviation pioneers, who invented and built the first successful airplane.

The small aircraft left Florida, US, in July 2020 attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover.

The rover touched down successfully in the Jezero crater of the “Red Planet” on Feb.18, following a risky high-speed seven-minute descent after crossing the Martian atmosphere.

The 1.8-kg soccer ball-sized robotic chopper has built-in cameras and a microphone to document the flight from its perspective.

Although the flight will be autonomous, the aircraft will receive signals from NASA.

These will include general commands on elevation and acceleration, among others, which are just parameters for Ingenuity to manage its flight.

The rover will serve as a communication base station for Ingenuity and will relay the signals between the helicopter and Earth.

The Ingenuity flight will pave the way for future missions that will include advanced robotic flying vehicles, collect high-resolution images from the air, and explore sites where it is difficult for rovers to reach. EFE


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