Mini helicopter reports from Mars for the first time


 The  small helicopter “Ingenuity”, which is on board the Mars rover “Perseverance”, sent its first status report to the control center in Pasadena, California, yesterday (local time). “Everything seems to be working fine,” said project manager Tim Canham, according to a statement from the US space agency NASA. Now it is important to quickly charge the six lithium-ion batteries of the aircraft, which weighs around two kilograms, in order to keep the electronics warm.

Not picked up yet

“Ingenuity” (in German: ingenuity) is still attached to the bottom of “Perseverance” (stamina). But in 30 to 60 days the helicopter is supposed to explore Mars from a bird’s eye view. It would be the first flight of an aircraft over another planet. “Ingenuity” will have to withstand extreme conditions: On Mars, it can be as cold as minus 90 degrees Celsius at night.

Mars helicopter Ingenuity

AP/Damian Dovarganes

© The  rover “Perseverance”, weighing around 1,000 kilograms and the size of a small car, landed on Thursday – after 203 days of flight and 472 million kilometers traveled – with a risky maneuver in a dry lake called “Jezero Crater”. “Perseverance” will investigate this lake with a diameter of around 45 kilometers over the next two years.

Search for a cheap starting place

In the next few days, NASA engineers want to test the measuring instruments and the rover’s robotic arm. © The n a first short drive should be undertaken. On later tours, the specialists then want to look for a flat spot on the surface of Mars that is suitable as a starting point for the mini helicopter.

© The  development and construction of the roughly 2.5 billion dollar (about 2.2 billion euros) rover had taken eight years. He is supposed to search for traces of earlier microbial life on Mars and to research the climate and geology of the planet.

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Mini helicopter reports Mars time


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