NASA will attempt to fly its helicopter to Mars on April 19

NASA finally has a new flight date for its Mars helicopter after a bug fix caused a delay. The space agency now waits to pilot Ingenuity “at the earliest” on April 19 at approximately 3:30 am EST. Don’t worry about staying awake all night to keep up, though. A livestream covering the download of the data will not begin until 6:15 a.m. EST, if all goes well, and the post-flight briefing is not scheduled until 2 p.m. EST.

The mission team had initially hoped to fly Ingenuity on April 11, but a command sequence issue on April 9 caused them to postpone the flight. NASA recently performed a spin test for the helicopter.

The flight will only be a 30 second hover intended to verify that the aircraft can fly in the first place. You will have to wait for the four successor flights to see it roam the surface of Mars. It will nevertheless be a historic moment if all goes according to plan. It’s no surprise that NASA is cautious as a result – there is a lot going on for this mission besides the fate of a small drone.

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