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The U.S. space agency says NASA’s ingenious helicopter will soon be able to launch its first aircraft via Red Planet on Monday.
The mini-helicopter’s flight will mark the first time it has flown on another planet, a controlled flight, and will help NASA gain valuable data on the conditions on Mars.
“NASA is not targeting the first flight of its ingenious helicopter before Monday, April 19th,” the space agency said Saturday.
NASA says data will return to Earth “hours after the autonomous flight”, which will depart at 3:30 a.m. (0730 GMT).
The first flight of ingenuity was initially set last Sunday, but was delayed after a possible problem appeared during a four-pound (1.8kg) helicopter’s high-speed test.
NASA says helicopter operation is unprecedentedly dangerous: flight is a challenge because Mars’ air is so thin – less than one percent of Earth’s atmospheric pressure.
On February 18 the helicopter landed on Mars attached to the base of the Perseverance Rover that touched down.
After the helicopter flight, the ingenuity will send the technical data of the diligence about what it did, and that information will be sent back to Earth.
The helicopter mission is equivalent to the first running plane on Earth – in 1903 by the Wright brothers in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. A piece of that aircraft is inserted into the ingenuity in memory of that achievement.
© 2021 AFP