NASA reschedules Ingenuity helicopter’s first flight on Mars for Monday

NASA has rescheduled the first flight of its Ingenuity Mars helicopter to April nineteenth at 3:30AM ET, the company introduced Saturday.

The four-pound helicopter that arrived on Mars on February 18th with its mother or father rover Perseverance has seen its first flight delayed just a few instances. It touched the floor of Mars on April 4th, and has been present process checks and checkouts. It survived its first night time alone on Mars’ frigid floor, passing a first check of its independence from Perseverance.

The craft was scheduled to take flight April eleventh, however final weekend NASA mentioned knowledge from a high-speed rotor check confirmed the check sequence ended early, as Ingenuity’s laptop tried to change from pre-flight to flight mode The date was pushed again once more after Ingenuity skilled a minor software program glitch.

Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory determined to switch and reinstall Ingenuity’s flight management software program, a course of that took a number of days. NASA tweeted Friday night time that Ingenuity had accomplished a full-speed spin check and a choice in regards to the subsequent flight date was forthcoming. The little helicopter has been ready on the floor of Mars’ Jezero Crater as NASA engineers examined and reinstalled the flight software program.

While Ingenuity just isn’t the primary focus of Perseverance’s mission on Mars— which is to look for indicators of life and take grime samples— the little helicopter may present a leap ahead in human exploration of Mars and different celestial our bodies. Rovers like Perseverance can solely transfer to date and don’t have particulars about what might lie forward of their paths. But a small craft like Ingenuity can grow to be like a scout, flying forward to assist the rover navigate Mars’ floor, and get to areas that different automobiles might not be capable of attain.

Once it does take off, Ingenuity will climb about 10 toes (3 meters), then hover in place for 30 seconds earlier than delivering midair and descending again to the floor. The digicam on its underside will take 30 pictures per second of the bottom. A bigger digicam will face the horizon and snap pictures whereas in flight, and on the similar time Perseverance’s cameras will take photos of Ingenuity flying.

If you’re up for an early morning Monday (or late night time, relying the place you’re), you possibly can watch the dwell stream of Ingenuity’s flight beginning at 6:15AM ET/3:15AM PT, on NASA Television, the company’s web site, and social media platforms, together with YouTube and Facebook.

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