NASA Update: Ingenuity Helicopter's First Flight Moved To 11 April 2021
It has been a couple of months since NASA's Ingenuity helicopter successfully landed on Mars' Jezero Crater after hitching a ride under the belly of NASA's Perseverance rover. Since then, many have anticipated its flight, which is set to mankind a new achievement to rejoice about.
It's a record-breaking achievement for humans considering that flying a controlled rotorcraft on Mars is more challenging than flying one on Earth. It's difficult to fly the Ingenuity helicopter on a planet that has about one-third gravity that of earth and an atmosphere that is merely 1 per cent as dense as Earth's. Apart from this, engineers and scientists have nighttime temperatures to worry about. Temperatures drop as low as minus 90 degrees Celsius in the evening which can freeze and crack unprotected electrical components.
Originally, the Ingenuity helicopter was scheduled to take off around 8 April. However, on 31 March, NASA JPL announced on Twitter that the aircraft's takeoff was slated around the mentioned date. The helicopter's deployment process will take about six earth days.
Should the four-pound rotorcraft successfully take off, significant data will arrive on Earth on 12 April. It will also commence the Ingenuity flight campaign and continue to fly within 31 earth days.
The data acquired from the flight will help provide information for future space explorations—ultimately leading us closer to a world that is knowledgeable beyond its skies.