NASA has been preparing for Ingenuity’s first flight for a long time. As a reminder, it is an autonomous drone that arrived on Mars with the Perseverance rover. It will be the first device to take off on the Red Planet and do it as part of an experiment (NASA wants to control how many flights using a lift are possible there).
NASA has done “reverse origami” and is delaying takeoff
A few days ago, we reported that NASA ordered the removal of the Ingenuity aircraft cover and we were able to see it in the image for the first time. Persistence (the helicopter is attached to the rover chassis) has already left the cover behind and Ingenuity has done the so-called “reverse origami”.
This is what NASA engineers call the reversal and disassembly of all the helicopter components. Theoretically, it is almost ready for flight, but it is still attached to the rover chassis. The last step is to unlock it and plant it in the Martian regolith.
Step by step, Ingenuity is getting ready to come to the surface. Once everything is in order, I can cut them
– we read on NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Twitter channel, which is displayed in the first person.
NASA originally planned that Ingenuity’s first flight would be “no earlier than April 8. However, it was announced this week that the launch would be slightly delayed. Current estimates put the virgin flight on April 11 or later.
In the second half of March, NASA found the perfect location for Ingenuity’s first flight. This is a flat area north of the Perseverance landing site, which will be the first extraterrestrial landing site for such an aircraft. Because when Ingenuity takes off, it will be the first device to use an elevator that flies over the Earth.
According to NASA engineers, elevator flights to Mars are definitely more difficult than to Earth. All because of the very rare atmosphere (the pressure on Mars is about 100 times lower than on Earth), which makes it difficult to gain enough power to hold even such a small device in the air as Ingenuity. We explained this in more detail a few months ago in the following text: