The helicopter lands on Mars as NASA prepares for the Ingenuity to make the planet’s first powered flight

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A helicopter landed on Mars ground on Saturday as NASA prepares for the Ingenuity to make its maiden flight on the Red Planet.

The $ 85 million drone is a technology demonstration to test a powered flight on another world for the first time and is expected to “ take off a few feet above the ground, hover in the air for about 20 to 30 seconds, and land, ” according to NASA .

The flight is expected to take place on April 11 and last 90 seconds without rising higher than 3 meters above the ground, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The helicopter, which costs more than an F-35 fighter jet, was dropped from the Perseverance rover on Saturday. The rover arrived at the fourth rock of the sun in February.

#MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed! Today’s journey of 471 million kilometers aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the last 10 cm drop from the rover’s abdomen to the surface of Mars. Next milestone? Survive the night, ” tweeted the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The $ 85 million drone is a technology demonstration to test a powered flight on another world for the first time

The $ 85 million drone is a technology demonstration to test a powered flight on another world for the first time

An image accompanying the tweet shows the drone free-standing at the airport at some distance from the rover

An image accompanying the tweet shows the drone free-standing at the airport at some distance from the rover

An image accompanying the tweet shows the drone standing free at the airport some distance from the rover

The helicopter, which costs more than an F-35 fighter jet, was dropped from the Perseverance rover on Saturday

The helicopter, which costs more than an F-35 fighter jet, was dropped from the Perseverance rover on Saturday

The helicopter, which costs more than an F-35 fighter jet, was dropped from the Perseverance rover on Saturday

An image accompanying the tweet shows the drone free-standing at the airport at some distance from the rover.

NASA said that, despite the short time, the flight will be “an important milestone” as “the very first powered flight in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars.”

In a statement last month, NASA compared the flight to that of the Wright Brothers.

“ While Ingenuity will attempt the first powered controlled flight on another planet, the first powered controlled flight on Earth took place on December 17, 1903, on the windy dunes of Kill Devil Hill, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, ” it reads . .

Orville and Wilbur Wright covered 36 meters in 12 seconds on the first flight. The Wright brothers made four flights that day, each longer than the last. ‘

Håvard Grip, with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said Space.com last month that if the flight goes well, the drone will make extra flights with each longer than the next, like the Wright Brothers.

But first, the data from the first flight is sent back to Earth – it doesn’t arrive until the next day, outlets reported.

“ Flights remaining during Ingenuity’s 31-day window are aimed at a maximum height of 5 feet … with each flight ideally going beyond its predecessor in the designated range of 300 feet, ” the outlet reported.

NASA said the tiny 4-pound helicopter will attempt to “ stay warm autonomously during the intensely cold Mars night ” until its maiden flight – reaching temperatures below -130 degrees Fahrenheit.

NASA said the small 4-pound helicopter will attempt to “ stay warm autonomously during the intensely cold Mars night ” until its maiden flight.

In a statement last month, NASA compared the flight to that of the Wright Brothers

In a statement last month, NASA compared the flight to that of the Wright Brothers

In a statement last month, NASA compared the flight to that of the Wright Brothers

The tiny little helicopter will also use its solar panels to recharge for the big day

The tiny little helicopter will also use its solar panels to recharge for the big day

The tiny little helicopter will also use its solar panels to recharge for the big day

Perseverance rover with the Ingenuity arrived at the fourth rock of the sun in February

Perseverance rover with the Ingenuity arrived at the fourth rock of the sun in February

Perseverance rover with the Ingenuity arrived at the fourth rock of the sun in February

The tiny little helicopter will also use its solar panels to recharge for the big day.

Mars has a thin atmosphere with “only about 1% the density of our atmosphere on Earth,” NASA said.

“ Because the atmosphere of Mars is so much less dense, Ingenuity is designed to be light, with rotor blades that are much larger and rotate much faster than what would be needed for a helicopter with the mass of Ingenuity on Earth, ” NASA said in a statement.

NASA noted in a press release that the Ingenuity is not designed to support the mission of the Perseverance mission, “ which searches for signs of ancient life and collects samples of rock and sediment in tubes for possible return to Earth by later missions. ” .