NASA's Ingenuity On Duty February 2021

Sourcee:  NASA Ingenuity

Paired with Rover Perseverance
The world's first Mars helicopter - NASA's Ingenuity - will start operations in Mars' Jezero Crater in February 2021.  It will be ferried there by NASA's Perseverance Rover.  This is the first ever helicopter that will be flying in another world.  It was developed by NASA along with Lockheed Martin and it's small, weighing just 4 pounds. The duo are expected to be launched from Cape Canaveral, FL aboard a rocket to Mars by NASA between July 30 and August 15, 2020.  It's a great new mission of rocket science.

Delicate Maneuverings
Once established on Mars, the Perseverance-Ingenuity travel maneuvers next February will be delicate.  Ingenuity will be attached horizontally under Perseverance for the February 18th landing at Jezero Crater on Mars.  The landing clearance is tight.  For 2 months, they'll stay together and hunt for a flat, unobstructed space to do test flying operations, at which time Perseverance will move football fields away.

Just the Right Spot
The decision-making is controlled by NASA experts on Earth. The right space for takeoff needs to be 33' x 33'.  NASA operators will check all systems before Ingenuity flies.  The process of unlocking the helicopter & making it completely vertical involves spectacular technology that even includes pyrotechnic fires releasing the legs.  The helicopter will charge its batteries with solar panels.

30 Martian Days
Ingenuity is designed to work for 30 sols or Martian days to determine how feasible Martian helicopter flying will be for future missions.  Ingenuity carries no instruments.  It is providing the basis for the next generation of space helicopters for scouting difficult terrain, exploring deep craters and caves and even possibly carrying astronauts.  As for Perseverance, the rover's main mission is searching for signs of ancient life on Mars and bringing samples back to Earth.


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