Watch NASA’s mission control live as the Ingenuity helicopter attempts to fly on Mars on Monday

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NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter flight artist concept. NASA / JPL-Caltech

NASA is about to fly that Martian helicopter For the first time-a feat that could revolutionize space flight.

A helicopter called Ingenuity has traveled nearly 300 million miles to the red planet hidden in the belly of Mars. Perseverance Rover.. He is currently sitting at the Jezero Crater airfield on Mars and is set to make the first controlled powered flight ever carried out on another planet.

The ingenuity is set to fly autonomously early on Monday, and NASA expects to receive data from the helicopter around 6:15 EST. At that time, the agency will know if the test flight was successful.

NASA patience

Perseverance took a selfie at Ingenuity on April 6th. NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Seán Doran

When NASA learns a helicopter from mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California (embedded below) via a live stream, you can see what happened to the helicopter. In a live feed, the mission controller may also receive the first in-flight photo from the helicopter.

Ingenuity’s first flight will be about 10 feet above the ground, hovering there, and then slowly touching down. Helicopters need to fly autonomously throughout the flight. If all goes well, Ingenuity will attempt up to four more aerial escapes in 30 days. Each of these flights becomes more and more difficult, and the drone adventures higher and farther each time.

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It takes at least eight minutes for the signal from Mars to reach Earth, and vice versa, so engineers and technicians running Ingenuity have to bite a nail and wait for a signal that the helicopter has flown and landed.

Josh Ravich, mechanical leader of the Ingenuity team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told insiders: “I’m definitely nervous, it’s like waiting for a little moment to come back after years of work.”

Watch NASA fly a Martian helicopter live

Ingenuity is a demonstration aimed at testing NASA’s rotorcraft technology on another planet. Therefore, there is no science other than capturing photos and videos from the air. However, Ingenuity will scout Rover and astronauts, explore the surface of Mars and other planets from the air, and pave the way for future extraterrestrial helicopters to fly through canyons and cliffs that Rover may not be able to access. May open.

The NASA TV live stream below, launched Monday at 6:15 EST, shows the space flight operations facility of the agency receiving data and possibly images from Ingenuity’s flight. There, engineers like Ravich are anxiously waiting for a helicopter call.

“By its very nature, it will be a bit more risky than a regular mission,” Ravich said. “There are many things that don’t work.”

Ingenuity has already attempted to fly about 3 hours ago at 3:30 am (Eastern Standard Time). You can’t see the flight in real time-NASA can’t livestream from another planet-but video of the flight and video from the flight will be available soon. The helicopter is set up to use two cameras on its belly (one in black and white for navigation and one in color) to record the ground beneath it. Patience, on the other hand, is expected to record flights from nearby oversights.

It is not yet known how long it will take for NASA to bring the video back to Earth and publish it.Patience is back Complete video footage of that landing Within 3 days.

Mars Perseverance Selfie 2x1

Perseverance’s “Selfie” will showcase the camera on a remote sensing mast at the end of the rover’s robotic arm. NASA / JPL-Caltech

The test flight on Monday was originally scheduled for April 12th NASA delayed it after an important spin test ended abruptly.. In that test, helicopter carbon fiber blades were rotated at full speed on the ground. To lift a 4-pound drone, two pairs of blades need to rotate in opposite directions at about 2,500 revolutions per minute (about eight times faster than a passenger helicopter on Earth). This is necessary because the Martian air has a density of only 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere.

However, the spin test ended because the helicopter was unable to move the flight computer from “preflight” mode to “flight” mode. Ingenuity engineers then fixed the problem by adjusting the helicopter’s flight control software. Ingenuity re-doed a full-speed spin test on Friday and the blades worked as expected during the flight.

This could be the first of five flights

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NASA’s ingenuity helicopter photographed on Mars by Perseverance Rover on April 4. NASA / JPL-Caltech

If everything went as NASA wanted, Ingenuity’s fifth and final flight would carry a helicopter over 980 feet (300 meters) above the ground on Mars.

“Each of them will probably be a pretty tense and exciting experience,” Ravich said.

But even if Ingenuity only completed this first 10-foot hover, it would be a big win.

“It’s going to be the Wright brothers’ moment, but it’s going to be on another planet,” helicopter team project manager MiMi Aung said in a briefing before Rover landed. “Every step from now on will be the first kind.”

This post has been updated with new information. Originally published on Friday, April 9, 2021.

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