NASA’s miniature helicopter has safely deployed on Mars, setting the stage for a potential first flight on the Red Planet.
The four-pound helicopter, called Ingenuity, made the long journey from Earth stowed away underneath the Perseverance rover, which touched down in February. On Saturday, NASA confirmed that Ingenuity had safely separated from the rover’s belly and survived the four-inch drop to Mars’ surface.
The successful deployment brings NASA one step closer to its first attempt at testing the possibility of powered, controlled flight on another planet — which could one day allow scientists to observe and explore parts of Mars’ surface that rovers can’t reach.
NASA has compared Ingenuity’s experimental mission to the Wright brothers’ historic first flight in 1903, which ushered in the aerial age on Earth.
Ingenuity could take off as early as April 11, beginning a series of up to five test flights over Jezero Crater, where Perseverance landed, over a one-month period. Read more