NASA

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter dropped on Mars' surface ahead of flight


A photograph accompanying the tweet showed Perseverance had driven clear of the helicopter and its "airfield" after dropping to the surface.


Ingenuity had been feeding off the Perseverance's power system but will now have to use its own battery to run a vital heater to protect its unshielded electrical components from freezing and cracking during the bitter Martian night.


Over the next couple of days, the Ingenuity team will check that the helicopter's solar panels are working properly and recharging its battery before testing its motors and sensors ahead of its first flight, Balaram said.


Ingenuity is expected to make its first flight attempt no earlier than April 11, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory tweeted.


Ingenuity will be attempting to fly in an atmosphere that is 1 percent the density of Earth's, which makes achieving lift harder – but will be assisted by gravity that is one-third of our planet's.


The 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) rotorcraft cost NASA around $85 million to develop and is considered a proof of concept that could revolutionize space exploration.






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