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NASA aims for historic helicopter flight on Mars

The Japan Times

Washington – NASA is hoping to make history early Monday when the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter attempts the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. The space agency had originally planned the flight for April 11 but postponed it over a software issue that was identified during a planned high-speed test of the aircraft's rotors. The issue has since been resolved, and the 1.8-kilogram drone could achieve its feat by around 3:30 a.m. Data, however, won't arrive until several hours later, and NASA will begin a livestream at 6:15 a.m. "Each world gets only one first flight," MiMi Aung, the Ingenuity project manager, said before the first attempt.

What's next for the Mars Perseverance rover? Your questions answered

New Scientist

Mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the Perseverance Mars rover team views the first images sent back from the spacecraft On 18 February, NASA's Perseverance rover landed on Mars, lowered gently to the ground by a flying sky crane. Now it will begin its dual mission: picking up and stashing samples of Mars dust and rocks to be brought back to Earth later, and searching for signs of ancient life. It also carries with it several other experiments designed to test technology that could be useful to future Mars exploration. New Scientist's space reporter, Leah Crane, answers all your questions on what's next for Perseverance. What happens with the sky crane when it has safely landed Perseverance? In NASA's animations we see it fly off, but where to?

NASA's Mars helicopter is going bigger and bolder TODAY

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter is making a second, bolder and more daring flight on the Red Planet today, going higher than its first history making flight on Monday. The US space agency said it would climb up to 16ft above the surface, hover briefly, tilt and move sideways for 7ft, take a series of colour photos and then land. It is set to take off at 10:30 BST, but due to delays in getting data to travel the 181 million miles between Earth and Mars, we won't know if it has worked until 14:21 BST. Flying on Mars is particularly challenging due to the fact its atmosphere is just 1% of Earth's at ground level, and while the lower gravity, a third of that on Earth, helps, it is only a partial offset against the thinner atmosphere. This means that in order to fly, the helicopter has to be ultra-light and rotate its blades extremely fast, up to 2,500 rpm, in order to achieve lift. Ingenuity made its first historic flight on Monday April 19, going up 10ft, hovering, snapping a photo, and returning to the newly named'Wright Brothers Field'.

NASA's Perseverance rover snaps selfies of its 'head' and 'face'

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's Perseverance rover has sent back two selfies of its camera-laden'face' and'head' from the Jezero Crater on the surface of Mars. The two snaps show Perseverance's remote sensing mast, which hosts many of the rover's cameras and scientific instruments. They were taken with the SHERLOC WATSON camera, located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm. Perseverance touched down on the Red Planet on February 18 after a nearly seven-month journey through space. It is tasked with seeking traces of fossilised microbial life from Mars' ancient past and to collect rock specimens for return to Earth through future missions to the Red Planet.

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter prepares for first flight on another planet in 'Wright Brothers moment'

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's Perseverance is gearing up to release the Ingenuity helicopter that will conduct the first controlled flights on another planet. Ingenuity is currently in the belly of the rover that is traveling to an'airfield' on Mars, which is deemed the perfect take-off site – a flat area with textured features to help the helicopter track its path. The deployment of Ingenuity from the belly of Perseverance will take about six sols to complete and from there the rotocopter will have to meet a series of milestones before attempting its first flight. NASA is targeting no earlier than April 8 for this event, which will see Ingenuity fly nine feet into the air, hover in place for 30 seconds and then land again on Mars' surface. And the team says if the helicopter can pull off the short flight, the entire mission will be deemed a success. If the rotorcraft lands successfully and remains operable, up to four more flights could be attempted, each one building on the success of the last.