translated from Spanish: Ingenuity helicopter to make its first flight on Mars from April 11

The historic Ingenuity controlled test flight in the Mars atmosphere was scheduled to take place from April 8, but NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, delayed the date this week for reasons it did not specify. NASA has explained that the Ingenuity needs six Martian days (24 hours and 40 minutes) to deploy its “wings” and be ready for flight.” Takeoff is scheduled for no earlier than April 11 and data will arrive on Earth on April 12,” Pasadena’s JPL, which handles many of NASA’s robotic missions, wrote on Twitter. The light aircraft, 0.49 meters high and less than two kilos in weight, made the journey to Mars under the “belly” of perseverance, but its mission is independent of the one that vehicle will perform on the red planet, according to NASA. As the agency explained at the end of March, on its first flight, which will last about 30 seconds, the helicopter, which operates remotely, with solar energy and is capable of self-recharge, will reach an altitude of about three meters and descend to perch on an esplanade on the Martian surface chosen for this. It is expected that on successive flights it can climb up to about five meters. On March 21 Perseverance deployed a protective shield so that the helicopter can withstand the dangerous descent on the Martian surface. The U.S. special agency has indicated that sending the Ingenuity to Mars aims to test how these small helicopters behave in the air of that planet, thinner than Earth’s, because gravity is one-third that of our planet, with a view to deciding how they will be used in future space exploration. The Ingenuity is specifically designed to fly over Mars and is believed to help scientists by providing a new perspective on the geology of the red planet or exploring from the air areas to which a rover cannot be sent.” The project is just a demonstration of technology, not designed to support the Mars 2020/Perseverance mission, which aims to search for signs of ancient life and collect samples of rocks and sediments,” the space agency said.

Original source in Spanish

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