After some long-distance troubleshooting, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter will attempt the first flight of its kind on another world Monday in a demonstration that could open the door to a new era of interplanetary aerial scouts. Watch live at 6:15 a.m. EDT (1015 GMT) Monday as NASA officials receive signals confirming the outcome of the flight attempt.
Mission controllers plan to unlock the blades on NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter and spin them up to more than 2,000 rpm for a test later this week, a bit of “calisthenics” before the rotorcraft’s first flight in the atmosphere of Mars as soon as this weekend, the helicopter’s operations lead said Monday.
Scientists have confirmed the first zoomable camera on Mars is in top-top shape since arriving aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover in February, adding a long-distance survey capability to the robot’s scientific toolkit. The camera is now ready to capture high-definition video of the Ingenuity helicopter’s first flight in the Martian atmosphere later this month.
China’s Tianwen 1 spacecraft — in orbit around Mars since February — is scheduled to deploy a descent module to attempt the country’s first landing on the Red Planet in mid-May. Officials plan to share the Mars rover’s scientific data with researchers around the world, a senior Chinese scientist said last week.