It’s alive: NASA powers up first Mars helicopter during Perseverance rover’s space flight

This photograph from late 2019 reveals the Perseverance rover with the Ingenuity helicopter sitting beneath it. 


NASA already has some excellent news to report about its Mars Ingenuity helicopter, the high-risk, high-reward experiment that is destined for a date with the crimson planet. Ingenuity launched as part of the Mars 2020 mission in late July.

The small helicopter, which is presently zipping by area tucked into the stomach of the Perseverance rover, is alive and nicely. NASA announced on Thursday that it had efficiently recharged the helicopter on Aug. 7 whereas in mid-spaceflight. 

“This marks the primary time the helicopter has been powered up and its batteries have been charged within the area setting,” the company stated.

There are lots of unknowns surrounding Ingenuity. Will it survive the cruel journey to Mars? Will its techniques perform as meant as soon as Perseverance drops it off on the planet’s floor? Will it fly? 

The helicopter’s preliminary well being checkup is an efficient signal. “We’ve much more firsts to go earlier than we are able to try the primary experimental flight check on one other planet, however proper now we’re all feeling superb concerning the future,” said MiMi Aung, Ingenuity undertaking supervisor at JPL.

The facility-up and charging course of took eight hours, and the Ingenuity crew recharged the lithium ion batteries to 35%. The crew will repeat the exercise each couple of weeks. Which means Ingenuity has lots of recharges to sit up for. Perseverance is not scheduled to achieve Mars till February 2021.

If Ingenuity is a hit, it might assist open the skies on other worlds.

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Amanda Kooser