NASA set to fly a mini helicopter on Mars to explore the Red Planet

NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter

The Perseverance rover on Mars is set to deploy a mini-helicopter named Ingenuity that will fly and explore the Red Planet. With the help of this helicopter, untouched aspects of Mars will be explored. After dropping the debris shield, Perseverance will spend next couple of days following the Ingenuity’s flight zone on Mars.

“Away goes the debris shield, and here’s our first look at the helicopter. It’s stowed sideways, folded up and locked in place, so there’s some reverse origami to do before I can set it down. First though, I’ll be off to the designated “helipad,” a couple days’ drive from here,” the rover team said in a tweet on Monday. The four-pound, four-blade rotorcraft will attempt the first flight of its kind on another planet, and in the process, it will test a new mode of mobility. The craft is currently attached to the belly of Perseverance, which landed at Mars’ Jezero crater in February.  Perseverance, with Ingenuity attached to its belly, landed in Jezero Crater on February 18. Ingenuity is a technology demonstration with a limited test flight duration of up to 31 days (30 Mars days, or sols).

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is the first aircraft humanity has sent to another planet to attempt powered, controlled flight. If its experimental flight test program succeeds, the data returned could benefit future explorations of the Red Planet.