What’s up with NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity? The first aircraft on Mars has apparently survived its first night alone on the Red Planet and you can get the latest scoop with two live video updates today (April 5).
At 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT), NASA will be hosting the live Q&A session “Mars Helicopter Live Q&A: One Step Closer to First Flight.” You can watch the live video here on Space.com and via this YouTube channel from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. And if you have any questions that you’d like answered, you can ask them on social media with the hashtag #MarsHelicopter.
Right after that session, at 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT), the agency will have a live webinar, “Month of Ingenuity: Helicopter Flight Preview Webinar,” which anyone interested can access here. Viewers can ask questions live in the chat portion of the webinar, which will provide updates about the craft as we anticipate its first flight.
NASA announced today Ingenuity has survived its first night on the Martian surface after being deployed by Perseverance rover on Saturday (April 3). NASA expects Ingenuity to take its first flight no sooner than April 11.
Video: Watch NASA’s Mars helicopter unfold like a butterfly
Ingenuity flew to the Red Planet tucked into the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover. Since the rover successfully landed on Mars in Jezero Crater, the mission team has been hard at work getting ready for Ingenuity’s historic first flight, which will be the first helicopter flight on another world.
First, the team had to find the right area for the craft to take flight. Then, the craft started to slowly unfold from beneath the rover. Most recently, this past Saturday, the helicopter finally touched down on the Martian surface after Perseverance dropped it (on purpose, of course).
“#MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed! Its 293 million mile (471 million km) journey aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the final drop of 4 inches (10 cm) from the rover’s belly to the surface of Mars today. officials from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory wrote in a Twitter announcement.
The officials ended the tweet with “Next milestone? Survive the night,” but, as JPL announced today, the helicopter has officially survived its first cold Martian night on its own.
It takes some time for the helicopter to unfold and deploy before it’s fully ready for flight. Once it is completely ready and deployed, the mission team hopes that they will get the little helicopter flying within 30 sols, or Mars days, (about 31 Earth days).
Email Chelsea Gohd at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.