National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on April 3, 2021, said that it has dropped its Ingenuity mini helicopter on Mars’ surface for its first flight. The ultra-light aircraft was fixed to the belly of the Perseverance rover.
“#MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed!” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory tweeted on Saturday.
“Its 293 million mile (471 million kilometre) journey aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the final drop of 4 inches (10 centimetre) from the rover’s belly to the surface of Mars today. Next milestone? Survive the night,” it added.
“This heater keeps the interior at about 45 degrees F (7 degrees Celsius) through the bitter cold of the Martian night, where temperatures can drop to as low as -130F (-90 degrees Celsius),” Bob Balaram, Mars Helicopter Project chief engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in an update.
“That comfortably protects key components such as the battery and some of the sensitive electronics from harm at very cold temperatures,” he added.
The solar panel of the helicopter will undergo a check. During this check, the Ingenuity team will check if the solar panels can recharge the battery. The team will also test motors and sensors before the first flight fly to its destination, Balram said.
According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s tweet, Ingenuity’s launch will not take place before April 11, 2021.