NASA reschedules Ingenuity helicopter’s first flight on Mars for Monday
The craft was scheduled to take flight April 11th, but last weekend NASA said data from a high-speed rotor test showed the test sequence ended early, as Ingenuity’s computer tried to switch from pre-flight to flight mode The date was pushed back again after Ingenuity experienced a minor software glitch.
The little helicopter has been waiting on the surface of Mars’ Jezero Crater as NASA engineers tested and reinstalled the flight software. While Ingenuity is not the main focus of Perseverance’s mission on Mars— which is to look for signs of life and take dirt samples— the little helicopter could provide a leap forward in the human exploration of Mars and other celestial bodies.
Rovers like Perseverance can only move so far and don’t have details about what may lie ahead in their paths.
But a small craft like Ingenuity can become like a scout, flying ahead to help the rover navigate Mars’ surface, and get to areas that other vehicles may not be able to reach.
Once it does take off, Ingenuity will climb about 10 feet (3 meters), then hover in place for 30 seconds before turning in midair and descending back to the surface.
If you’re up for an early morning Monday (or late night, depending on where you are), you can watch the live stream of Ingenuity’s flight starting at 6:15 AM ET/3:15 AM PT, on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and social media platforms, including YouTube and Facebook.