Ingenuity, which flew to Mars on NASA's Perseverance rover successfully landed on the planet Mars on Feb. 18 and now the helicopter ready to make history with the first controlled, powered flight through another planet's atmosphere.
The interplanetary helicopter was previously set to take off no sooner than April 8, but the little craft will now take flight no earlier than April 11 informed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California announced via Twitter onMarch 31.
The helicopter, located underneath the rover, has been unfurling from Perseverance's belly, preparing for the Flight. On March 21, Perseverance dropped a protective shield, which helped the helicopter to endure the perilous descent through Mars atmosphere. It takes a bit of time for the helicopter to unfold and formally deploy for the flight. It takes about six sols, or six Mars days (one sol is equal to about 24 hours and 40 minutes on Earth, or a little more than one Earth day).
Once fully and safely deployed on Mars surface, the Ingenuity flight campaign will begin. The mission team hopes to get the drone flying within 30 sols (or about 31 Earth days) of this deployment.
Ingenuity is a technology demonstration. The first of its kind, these flights aim to prove that it is possible to fly a controlled, powered craft like the Mars Helicopter on another world. Ingenuity is set to make a few short flights, its only additional onboard technology being a camera. During these flights, Perseverance will also stand by and use its cameras to capture the events.