NASA prepares for a historic helicopter flight — on Mars

DM

Roughly 278 million kilometres away, a small, 1.8 kilogram helicopter is waiting to take its place in the history books alongside the Wright Brothers. After an original target flight date of no earlier than April 11, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter will become the first aircraft to fly on another planet no earlier than April 14 as it lifts off the surface of Mars. The helicopter arrived at Mars on Feb. 18, tucked safely away on the Perseverance rover. NASA announced that there had been an issue during a test of the rotors late last Friday. As a result, the new target launch date is April 14, though it has not been confirmed, nor has a specific launch time been given. The flight, while historic, is just the beginning of trying a new way of exploring other worlds. It doesn’t have any scientific instruments, but is a test of the first powered, controlled flight outside of Earth.

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