The small helicopter “Ingenuity” is scheduled to take off on Monday for its first flight over Mars. The launch, which has already been postponed several times, is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. CEST, and data from it will be received on Earth from 12:15 p.m. CEST, the U.S. space agency Nasa said. It would be the first flight of an air vehicle on another planet. However, the launch could still be postponed at short notice, it said.
Interested parties can follow the event via livestream on the Nasa website, via the Nasa app, via YouTube or Facebook. However, the exact time could differ, according to Nasa. Updates can be tracked on the Ingenuity website.
Mini helicopter “Ingenuity” had technical problems
The first flight of the small helicopter, which landed on Mars aboard the “Perseverance” rover in February, had originally been scheduled for April 11, but was then postponed first to April 14 and then again because of technical problems. Weighing around 1.8 kilograms, “Ingenuity” is to climb to an altitude of around three meters during its first test flight, remain there on the spot for 30 seconds and then land again on the surface of Mars.
The helicopter will have to brave extreme conditions: On Mars, it is as cold as minus 90 degrees at night; in addition, the planet’s gravitational pull is lower and the atmosphere is much thinner. The mini-helicopter was in the belly of “Perseverance” at the end of February – after 203 days of flight and 472 million kilometers covered – with a risky maneuver in a dried-up Martian lake called “Jezero Crater”. This lake with a diameter of about 45 kilometers is to be investigated by “Perseverance” over the next two years.