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NASA Mars helicopter fully deployed under the rover and ready to land
NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance is slowly but surely preparing to deploy the first helicopter drone on Mars in parallel with the survey of the surrounding rocks of the Red Planet. This month, the protective cover was dropped, then the location of the air zone was chosen, and now the device «Ingenuity» is fully deployed and ready to land.
“We are at the homestretch. Martian helicopter lowers all four legs and is ready to land on the surface of Mars. When it is fully ready, «Perseverance» will gently lower it to the surface, «NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) tweeted, accompanying the words with a photo of the drone suspended a few centimeters from the ground.
Earlier, JPL published a GIF animation in the same place, which captures the process of deploying a device designed to become a technological demonstration of the possibility of flights in the atmosphere of Mars. Recall: until now, not a single propeller-driven vehicle has ever flown outside the Earth. If all goes well, Ingenuity will pave the way for other drones to help explore the Red Planet, both in unmanned missions and astronaut expeditions.
The first test flight of the Inventiveness helicopter will take place no earlier than April 8. The airfield is shaped like a small racing track. In the event of even just a successful takeoff, the entire mission will already be considered a success. During the first launch, the helicopter will rise to a height of about three meters, hover above the surface for 30 seconds, make a revolution around its axis in place, and then land. The whole process will take place automatically according to a program that NASA engineers will send to the helicopter’s on-board computer the day before the flight. The 0.5-megapixel camera on the belly of Ingenuity will take 30 photos per second during the entire process (that is, it will record a video).
The helicopter also has a better 13-megapixel camera directed towards the horizon. She will be filming the surroundings when the helicopter is in the air. In turn, the «Perseverance» rover, equipped with several cameras, will record the flight of a Martian helicopter from the surface of the Red Planet. Then all photos will be sent to Earth.