The Mars helicopter Ingenuity has unlocked its two rotor blades as preparations continue for the vehicle’s first flight, which is not due to take place until Sunday (April 11) at the earliest.
Invention arrived on February 18 along with NASA Endurance Rover, after making the long trip out to the red planet hidden inside the rover’s belly. From April 4, the little hacker has parted ways with perseverance and prepared to go to heaven during a month-long test campaign. If Ingenuity’s Sunday sorting is successful, it will be the first guided, guided flight on another planet.
“The glossy blades, aka rotor blades of #MarsHelicopter, have been unlocked and are ready for testing,”
Related: These selfies of NASA’s Mars helicopter and the Perseverance rover are just amazing
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Ingenuity’s flight preparation process has been slow and cautious, in part because 4-lb. (1.8 kg) helicopter traveled to Mars in folded configuration, hidden behind a protective shield.
After the rover dropped the shield and drove to the airport, the helicopter staff had to order the unit to unpack and unfold slowly. Then endurance had to put ingenuity directly on the surface of Mars and drive away so that the helicopter’s solar panels could begin to support the aircraft.
Locking and testing Ingenuity’s wings marks the last major milestones before the helicopter attempts to fly. NASA officials have said they will first test the knives at 50 and then at 2,400 rpm before the helicopter tries to fly.
Meanwhile, as Ingenuity makes its flight preparations, Perseverance checks the landscape and continues to settle on the red planet. Among other activities, the car-sized rover has taken pictures of its own tire tracks and its sophisticated science arm.
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