One of the cameras on the Perseverance rover’s Mastcam-Z instrument took this picture of the Ingenuity helicopter April 9. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU
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.
Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California uplinked commands for Ingenuity’s test flight Sunday, setting the stage for takeoff on a brief up-and-down hop at 3:31 a.m. EDT (0731 GMT) Monday.
It will take nearly three hours for ground teams to receive data confirming the outcome of the flight. The signals will bounce from the helicopter to the Perseverance rover, which released the drone onto the Martian surface April 3, then to a orbiter flying overhead to relay the data back to Earth.
NASA TV will broadcast live coverage from JPL’s operations center beginning at 6:15 a.m. EDT (1015 GMT) Monday as officials await data on the results of Ingenuity’s hop. Once the data starts flowing, engineers will analyze the signals for the telltale signature the the helicopter took and landed successfully.
Then images will start streaming back to Earth from cameras ...