NASA’s Mars rover drops off the Ingenuity helicopter ahead of a historic flight


NASA’s Perseverance rover, currently roaming Mars, has fallen of the Ingenuity mini-helicopter prior to the historic maiden flight of the four-pound aircraft.

Ingenuity fell ten centimeters from the belly of Endurance to the surface of Mars. While four inches may not seem like a very large drop, it is still an important milestone to successfully hold Ingenuity landing as the helicopter had to go through a multi-day process from horizontal position on the rover to vertical position. before it was put down. (It also had to survive a seven-month journey through space to get to Mars. NBD.)

Now that ingenuity has been separated from persistence, it will have to feed and warm itself. Resourcefulness draws energy from the sun using the onboard solar panels, but heating it will have the arduous task of keeping the helicopter warm during the frigid nights on Mars, where temperatures can drop as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Bob Balaram, chief engineer of Ingenuity

Assuming ingenuity to survive the harsh conditions, the helicopter will attempt to make the first powered flight on another planet, currently scheduled for “no earlier” than April 11th. NASA outlined the helicopter’s flight zone, which NASA outlined on March 23. The plan is for Ingenuity to attempt as many as five test flights within 30 days before settling on the surface of Mars forever.