Bengaluru: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that it plans to fly a helicopter in Mars in the Perseverance mission to the Red Planet.
According to The Independent, the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter will be attached to the Perseverance rover before take-off from Earth.
After landing on Mars on 18 February 2021, the helicopter will detach itself from the rover and navigate the Martian surface before lift-off.
The report quoted MiMi Aung, project manager of the Mars Helicopter at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as saying, “Ingenuity is unlike any other helicopter ever built because powered controlled flight in Mars is unlike anything ever attempted.”
The Ingenuity’s fuselage containing computers, cameras and batteries is the size of a football. The helicopter has also an antenna, solar panel, landing legs and two rotors.
Chris Salvo, the helicopter interface lead of the Mars 2020 mission at JPL said, “On a Mars rover mission, the addition of even one new washer is usually worthy of debate.”
The report adds that around the 60th Martian day, Perseverance will drop the Mars Helicopter Delivery System’s graphite composite debris shield that protected the helicopter during landing.
Following that, it will drive to the centre of the chosen airfield, where after six days, the helicopter will attempt the lift-off.