NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter Dropped on Mars’ Surface ahead of Flight

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WASHINGTON – NASA’s Ingenuity mini-helicopter has been dropped on the surface of Mars in preparation for its first flight, the U.S. space agency said.

The ultra-light aircraft had been fixed to the belly of the Perseverance rover, which touched down on the Red Planet on February 18.

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“Its 293 million mile (471 million kilometer) journey aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the final drop of 4 inches (10 centimeter) from the rover’s belly to the surface of Mars today. Next milestone? Survive the night.”

Swing low, sweet helicopter…@NASAPersevere is slowly and carefully deploying the #MarsHelicopter, Ingenuity. The tech demo is currently unfolding from its stowed position and readying to safely touch down on the Martian surface. See upcoming milestones: https://t.co/TNCdXWcKWE pic.twitter.com/3AyaiHOH2k

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While you’re here, how about this:

NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity touches down on the Red Planet

NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity touched down on the surface of the Red Planet after being dropped by its mother ship, the Perseverance rover, the space agency announced late Saturday (April 4). The helicopter’s first flight is just over a week away.

“#MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed! Its 293 million mile (471 million km) journey aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the final drop of 4 inches (10 cm) from the rover’s belly to the surface of Mars today,” officials with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California wrote in a Twitter announcement. “Next milestone? Survive the night.”

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Space News: NASA Ingenuity Mars helicopter prepares for first flight


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NASA Perseverance rover drops Ingenuity helicopter off on Mars surface

Perseverance snapped this image of the Ingenuity helicopter on March 28 close to the beginning of the deployment process.

Ingenuity was perched under the belly of the Perseverance rover, and the process of deploying it took nearly a week. The rover’s cameras have given us visual benchmarks of the progress. The latest image of Ingenuity all alone highlights how small it is against the wide landscape.

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The multi-step process of delivering Ingenuity involved releasing a locking mechanism, rotating the machine into position and deploying the spring-loaded legs, none of which happens quickly. Ingenuity remained connected to Perseverance for power during that time.

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‘Touchdown confirmed!’: Nasa’s Mars Ingenuity drops from Perseverance belly. List of milestones

Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on Sunday confirmed the touchdown of the Ingenuity helicopter, which was attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover, on the Martian surface. Nasa JPL tweeted the photograph of Ingenuity after it was dropped from the rover’s belly that ended its journey of almost 471 million kilometres with Perseverance. The visible track shows how the rover drove away from Ingenuity after dropping it onto the airfield.

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Surviving the night after getting dropped will be one of the most important milestones for Ingenuity since it has to run its own heater from its own battery. Bob Balaram, the chief engineer for the Mars helicopter project at Nasa’s JPL, said in a blog post that the Ingenuity team will be ‘anxiously waiting to hear from the helicopter’ the next day before it targets other milestones.


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Date: 2021-04-04T15:44:16+05:30
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NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter dropped on Mars’ surface ahead of flight

A photograph accompanying the tweet showed Perseverance had driven clear of the helicopter and its “airfield” after dropping to the surface.

Ingenuity had been feeding off the Perseverance’s power system but will now have to use its own battery to run a vital heater to protect its unshielded electrical components from freezing and cracking during the bitter Martian night.

“This heater keeps the interior at about 45 degrees F (7 degrees Celsius) through the bitter cold of the Martian night, where temperatures can drop to as low as -130F (-90 degrees Celsius),” Bob Balaram, Mars Helicopter Project chief engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wrote in an update on Friday.

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Greetings Earthlings: All systems on halt. The data presented above may one day be zapped to another dimension. Just thought you should be aware. It should be alright to step abroad. It is safe.