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NASA Mini-Copter to Soar Across the Martian Skies this Month

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NASA Mini-Copter to Soar Across the Martian Skies this Month

Credit: Unsplash

The most recent Mars explorer from NASA, Perseverance, landed successfully on the crimson planet’s surface just a month ago. Since then, it has been busy establishing its operations base and gathering samples for further analysis. Nevertheless, Perseverance wasn’t the sole equipment sent by NASA to Mars. Nestled under the rover is Ingenuity, a device set to offer a brand-new viewpoint of this alien realm.

Ingenuity, a miniature copter akin to a drone, had to be meticulously folded to fit onboard Perseverance safely. The folding process is quite intricate, requiring several days to unfold entirely, which explains why Ingenuity is not ready for takeoff at this very moment.

“It is currently stowed in a folded position, oriented sideways and securely locked in place, necessitating a reverse origami process before it can be deployed. Initially, I will steer towards the designated ‘helipad,’ a few days’ travel away from here,” mentioned the Perseverance team on Twitter.

Interestingly, unlike the autonomous functionalities of Perseverance, Ingenuity is entirely under user control – a groundbreaking novelty in extraterrestrial technology. Once detached from the underside of Perseverance and correctly positioned, the team will take over its controls to maneuver it using its four-foot battery-powered rotors, hovering around 10 feet above the Martian terrain. For the next 30 days on Mars (equivalent to about 31 Earth days), Ingenuity will survey the surface, relaying video feeds back to Earth as it explores the martian landscape.

The original flight schedule for Ingenuity was set for April 8, yet to ensure a thorough deployment and readiness for liftoff, the team has opted for a slight delay, pushing the flight to April 11, with the video data set for public release the subsequent day.

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