From NASA Ingenuity helicopter is on the cusp of its historic first flight. The agency has confirmed that it is Perseverance rover deployed the drone to Mars after a final four-inch drop to the floor of the Red Planet on April 3. The only challenge now is getting to the flight itself, which could take place as early as April 11 and provide data the next day. Ingenuity needs more time to recharge its battery using solar cells.
The first “trip” will be a brief 30 second hover at 10 feet to prove the helicopter’s airworthiness. NASA is planning up to four more flights over a 30-day period, with durations of up to 90 seconds and a distance of up to 160 feet from the rover. The ingenuity aims to prove that flight is possible in Mars’ very low density atmosphere, reduced gravity and extreme temperatures – it sets the stage for flight-based exploration in future missions.