NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter to conduct first flight on Mars

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter to conduct first flight on Mars
An illustration of NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter flying on Mars (Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Mars has been receiving a lot of attention recently, and another mission for the Red Planet is coming up in early April. NASA is preparing its Ingenuity Mars Helicopter for its first attempt of a controlled flight on another planet.

NASA’s plan is for Ingenuity to fly over the Martian surface for 30 days, or sols, to conduct its test flight, no earlier than April 8.

But before the helicopter can venture out, the team in charge of the mission must meet a few requirements.

According to NASA, Mars has a gravity about one-third that of Earth’s, and it’s atmosphere is just 1% as dense as Earth’s at the surface. During the daytime, Mars only receives half of the solar energy that typically reaches Earth; and during nighttime, temperatures can drop as low as -130ºF, which could freeze or crack unprotected electrical components on the aircraft.

Currently, Ingenuity remains attached to NASA’s Perseverance rover, which landed on the Red Planet on Feb. 18, last month. Perseverance is currently in-transit to the site on Mars that will serve as an airfield, where Ingenuity will attempt its first flight.

To learn about how NASA plans to deploy Ingenuity, click [HERE].

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