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NASA helicopter ready for first Mars flight in two days

NASA’s Mars helicopter intelligence first spun its impulses in a test, the first in a motor – fitted craft to another planet, before the scheduled flight overnight from Sunday to Monday. “Helicopter is fine, it is in good health.”, Tim Cunham, operations manager for ingenuity, told a news conference Friday.

“Last night, (…) we turned the drivers very slowly and carefully”, He announced. The moment was captured by a Perseverance rover several meters away, and it was taken away before the helicopter landed on Mars on February 18, before parting last weekend. NASA has released a very brief video clip of the craft – which looks like a giant drone – spinning its impulses. The first flight will take place on Monday at 02:54 AM (10:54 pm on the US East Coast), according to the US space agency.

The first data is expected to arrive at Earth at 8:15 a.m. Monday GMT (4:15 a.m. on the east coast of the United States). A live broadcast from NASA teams analyzing this first data is visible on the space agency’s website. The first flight will take a total of 40 seconds, and will only rise vertically before the helicopter takes off. “We will depart, climb to a height of three meters, we will highlight the direction of the rover, take a photo, and then we will descend.”, Described by Tim Cunham. NASA plans to launch five flights a month, increasing the difficulty.

At this time the final test of this Friday is yet to be carried out “At full speed”, Said Mimi Ang, project manager for the helicopter at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JBL). Mars rising in the air is a challenge because it is only 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere dense. Although gravity was lower than Earth, NASA teams had to build an ultra-light engine (1.8 kg), and the propellers would change much faster than a stationary helicopter. What are the chances of success of this aircraft? “The only uncertainty is the environment of Mars”, Especially “Wind”, Mimi Ang explained. It was an experience “High risk”, But a “Great Reward” If the key is success, he said briefly.

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