The US space agency NASA announced on Monday (local time) that a new date will be set next week for the “creativity” small helicopter, which landed on the “persistent” rover on the surface of Mars in February. Previously, April 11 was the earliest possible start date, then it was postponed to April 14 due to technical issues. NASA announced that it is currently working on resolving the helicopter’s software problems. The helicopter is ready to use and is in good condition.
The 1.8-kilogram “creativity” (German: ingenuity) will rise on its first test flight to a height of about three meters, hover there for thirty seconds and then land again on Mars. It will be the first flight of a plane to another planet. For about a month, the “innovation” powered by lithium-ion batteries could make many attempts at flying.
The helicopter must challenge extreme conditions: on Mars it is cold to minus 90 degrees Celsius at night, the planet’s gravitational force is less and the atmosphere is much thinner. The tiny helicopter was placed in the belly of “perseverance” at the end of February – after 203 days of flight and 472 million kilometers – with a risky maneuver in a dry Martian lake called “Jezero Crater”. ‘Perseverance’ is to examine this lake, which has a diameter of about 45 km, over the next two years.
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