NASA is set to launch the Mars rover Perseverance in the coming weeks. On board will be a small ‘helicopter’ which will be the first human vehicle to take-off from the surface of the Red Planet and fly in its skies. Forbes has the details, including an interview with one of the project managers involved.
Before the primary science phase of the mission begins, however, the rover will deploy its flying companion on the surface. Called Ingenuity, the small vehicle – just 0.5 meters tall – is equipped with two counter-rotating blades that will enable it to hover in the air. It will be deployed on the Martian surface at some point in the first 90 days of the mission. A team back on the ground will then command the helicopter to perform some checks, before attempting a first flight… It will be capable of one flight per day, with 30 days in total allocated for its mission. While it does have camerad on board and will take images, this is mostly a technology demonstration to see if rotorcraft could be useful for future missions to Mars, perhaps even human missions.
Check It Out: NASA is Sending a ‘Helicopter’ to Mars