The Nasa drone managed the first night alone on Mars’ cold surface

The Ingenuity helicopter drone has recovered safely through its first night out in the cold on Mars and is preparing for its first flight over the red planet.

Nasa says accommodation is “an important milestone”. On Saturday, the ultralight spacecraft stood alone on the surface of Mars after being disconnected from the vehicle Perseverance, which landed on Mars on 18 February.

Can fly for the weekend

A solar-powered battery on Ingenuity must thus provide the necessary heating to prevent the electronics on the drone from freezing and being damaged during the night of Mars, where the temperature can drop to minus 90 degrees.

– This is the first time Ingenuity has been on the surface for itself. Now we have received confirmation that we have the right insulation, heating element and enough battery power to get through the cold night, which is a great victory for the team, says project manager MiMi Aung at Nasa.

The first flight is now planned, which will take place no earlier than 11 April. in the coming days, rotors and motors will be tested.

– See the possibilities

Norwegian Håvard Fjær Grip is central to the project, which aims for the first flight on another planet.

– The only criterion for success for us, is whether we manage to fly on Mars for the first time in history. We believe there is a high probability of making it happen, Grip told NTB last year. He works at the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Los Angeles.

He sees several ways Ingenuity can be used in the exploration of our neighboring planet.

– One can, among other things, start using helicopters to reconnoiter areas for land vessels that need information about where to drive, and find out which areas are most interesting to study. It is about seeing the possibilities and opening new doors, Grip told NTB.

also read

Will fly helicopter on Mars: – Hard to say if this is my life’s work

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