A helicopter is expected to fly over Mars on Sunday, in an effort to escape the “extreme temperatures” of Mars, the red planet.
Also included is a NASA illustration depicting the Creativity Helicopter on Mars.
Whereas it was attached to the bottom of the persistent rover in the rear left.
It will also be the first aircraft to attempt controlled flight to another planet.
A small helicopter built by NASA is also slated to fly on the surface of Mars.
This is as part of the US space agency’s first attempt on a powered and controlled flight into another world.
The helicopter is expected to fly over Mars on Sunday 11 April, but the exact time has not yet been confirmed.
The small helicopter is part of a tech demonstration aimed at testing a new capability for the first time.
The latest news and analysis about the first NASA helicopter on Mars
The ingenuity arrived at Jezero Crater on February 18, after an eight-month, 300-million-mile flight inside the belly of the NASA vehicle.
After the spacecraft landed, the drone was brought down to Earth so that the helicopter could prepare for its maiden flight.
The helicopter is about 50 cm high, and weighs 1.8 kg on Earth, but no more than 0.68 kg on Mars.
This is due to the low gravity of the planet Mars, which is armed with two rotors rotating in opposite directions to lift the drone off the ground.
Helicopters also face the challenge of flying through the Martian atmosphere, which is about 100 times thinner than Earth’s atmosphere.
And since it is a technical show, the helicopter does not have any scientific instruments on board.
According to NASA, one of Ingenuity’s primary goals is survival.
There are “chilling temperatures” for the red planet, and with “nights reaching 90 degrees below zero”.
MiMi Aung, Project Manager, Helicopter Event on Mars
MiMi Aung, Ingenuity Project Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said the following:
“The Ingenuity team has done everything to test the helicopter on Earth, and we look forward to launching our experience in the real environment on Mars.
“We’ll learn along the way, and the ultimate reward for our team will be to be able to add another dimension to the way we explore other worlds in the future.”
On its maiden flight, the helicopter will take off from the ground, hovering in the air at an altitude of about 10 feet (three meters).
And for about 20 to 30 seconds before the landing on the surface of Mars.
If successful, NASA says it will be a “major milestone” and the first powered flight into another world.
Then, the aircraft will attempt additional test flights, which will include traveling further distances and increasing altitudes.
The helicopter also aims to make up to five test flights within the planet Mars within 30 Mars days (31 Earth days).
The Sunday excursion will be independent, with Ingenuity’s own navigation and control systems doing the trial.
This is because the radio signals would take 15 minutes 27 seconds to bridge a gap of 173 million miles (278 million kilometers) between Mars and Earth.
NASA also said it will not be able to see engineering data or photos from every flight, even long after the flight is over.
Bob Ballaram’s statement about the NASA global event
In addition to the above, Bob Ballaram, chief engineer of the Mars helicopter at JPL, said the following:
“Every step we have taken since this flight began six years ago has been an unknown area in aircraft history.”
“And while surface propagation will be a huge challenge, there is a risk of surviving that first night on Mars alone.
This without the rover protecting and preserving it, which would make the journey face a greater challenge”.