The National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) has launched its first helicopter Ingenuity to fly over Mars.
The mini helicopter Ingenuity by NASA is set to be the first to fly on another planet other than Mars.
It is a 1.8kg helicopter that travelled to Mars inside Nasa’s Perseverance rover, which landed in February 2021.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory had tweeted, “MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed!”
“Its 293 million miles (471 million kilometers) journey aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the final drop of 4 inches (10 centimeters) from the rover’s belly to the surface of Mars today. Next milestone? Survive the night.”
#MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed! Its 293 million mile (471 million km) journey aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the final drop of 4 inches (10 cm) from the rover's belly to the surface of Mars today. Next milestone? Survive the night. https://t.co/TNCdXWcKWE pic.twitter.com/XaBiSNebua
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) April 4, 2021
NASA says the space centre now aims to test the helicopter on April 19 (Monday). If the flight wouldn’t be successful, they’ll try again later in the week.
Earlier, Bob Balaram, Mars Helicopter Project chief engineer had written in an update, “This heater keeps the interior at about 45 degrees F (7 degrees Celsius) through the bitter cold of the Martian night, where temperatures can drop to as low as -130F (-90 degrees Celsius).”
“That comfortably protects key components such as the battery and some of the sensitive electronics from harm at very cold temperatures.”
Previously, NASA had successfully landed its Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars.
The American agency has landed the rover in a deep crater near the planet’s equator named Jezero.
“The good news is the spacecraft, I think, is in great shape,” said Matt Wallace, the mission’s deputy project manager.