NASA Invites Public to Take Flight With Ingenuity Mars Helicopter


NASAs Ingenuity Mars helicopter is seen here in a close-up taken by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard Perseverance
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NASAs Ingenuity Mars helicopter is seen in a close-up taken by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard the Perseverance rover. This image was taken on April 5, 2021, the 45th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

NASA is targeting no earlier than Sunday, April 11, for Ingenuity Mars Helicopters first attempt at powered, controlled flight on another planet. To mark a month of Ingenuity flights, the agency will host several events to bring people along for the ride.

A livestream confirming Ingenuitys first flight is targeted to begin around 3:30 a.m. EDT Monday, April 12, on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agencys website, and will livestream on multiple agency social media platforms, including the JPL YouTube and Facebook channels.

Ingenuity arrived at Mars Jezero Crater Feb. 18, attached to the belly of NASAs Perseverance rover. The helicopter is a technology demonstration with a planned test flight duration of up to 31 days (30 Mars days, or sols). The rover will provide support during flight operations, taking images, collecting environmental data, and hosting the base station that enables the helicopter to communicate with mission controllers on Earth.

The flight date may shift as engineers work on the deployments, preflight checks, and vehicle positioning of both Perseverance and Ingenuity. Timing for events will be updated as needed, and the latest schedule will be available on the helicopters Watch Online webpage:

https://mars.nasa.gov/technology/helicopter/#Watch-Online

News Briefing and Televised Event Schedule

Virtual media briefings before and after Ingenuitys first flight attempt and the livestream coverage of the flight attempt will originate from NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

A preflight briefing at 1 p.m. EDT (10 a.m. PDT) Friday, April 9, will provide the latest details on the helicopters operations and what to expect on the first flight day.

Briefing participants are expected to include:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science, NASA Headquarters
  • MiMi Aung, Ingenuity project manager, JPL
  • Tim Canham, Ingenuity operations lead, JPL
  • Amelia Quon, Ingenuity chamber test engineer, JPL
  • Elsa Jensen, Mastcam-Z uplink operations lead, Malin Space Science Systems

If the helicopter flies on Sunday, April 11, as expected, the livestream will show the helicopter team analyzing the first test flight data in JPLs Space Flight Operations Facility beginning at 3:30 a.m. EDT (12:30 a.m. PDT) Monday, April 12.

A postflight briefing is expected to take place at 11 a.m. EDT (8 a.m. PDT) Monday, April 12.

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