This Monday NASA is going to make history again, if everything goes according to plan. This time on the occasion of the Mars 2020 mission. Perseverance and Ingenuity are part of this mission to Mars, and now NASA’s small helicopter will do its job. And when it lifts off, it will become the first powered flight off Earth. Luckily, the U.S. space agency will make a live feed of Ingenuity’s first flight, but what can we expect from this helicopter?
In this first flight, in addition to the fact that Ingenuity is very well accompanied, we will see the helicopter rise about three meters, fly just 20 to 30 seconds and land. With this, the first flight is over. In reality, NASA wants to make sure that the helicopter is in perfect working order and has not been damaged in any way during the journey to Mars. Neither during the landing of Perseverance nor while the rover was searching for the perfect site. In short, they will start Ingenuity to know that everything is OK and that they will be able to use it again later.
A total of five flights of the Ingenuity helicopter are scheduled on Mars. With the help of Perseverance’s control antennas, the vehicle will be able to move and follow commands sent from Earth. These flights are planned for the next 30 Earth days (31 Martian sols). Ingenuity can soar up to five meters and travel about 300 meters, but for the time being we will have to wait for the mission to progress to see the helicopter achieve this.
The mission was delayed from April 8 until Monday, April 19, because Ingenuity needed a software upgrade. If all goes well, during the day we will be able to enjoy the images of the helicopter ascending in the sky of Mars, although it will barely spend a minute flying. In the coming days we will be watching the rest of the flights and enjoying Ingenuity flying over Mars.
Ingenuity’s first flight will be in just a few minutes, around 3:30 EDT (7:30 GMT). However, full images will not reach NASA for a few hours. At that time, at 6:15 EDT (10:15 GMT), we will be able to see the images live. That is, as they reach NASA and their reaction.
The NASA press conference with all the details of the Ingenuity flight will be at 14 EDT (18:00 GMT).
NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JLP) located in Pasadena (USA) will be live. Are you going to miss it?