Ingenuity came to Mars as a stowaway, tucked into the bottom of NASA’s Perseverance rover. that landed on the red planet in February after seven months of traveling 293 million miles from Earth. On its maiden flight, the $ 85 million 4-pound plane will simply fly about 10 feet above the surface – no higher than the edge of a normal basketball hoop – before returning to the surface. The entire flight must be completed in 90 seconds.
The short excursion – one of five excursions planned for a period of one month and starting on April 11 or around – is just a jump, a jump and a jump from interplanetary travel measures. But agency officials said it would be a giant leap forward for Mars exploration. In the future, autonomous drones like Ingenuity could fly high in the sky to explore canyons, polar caps and other terrain inaccessible to rovers. If human explorers land on Mars, drones can serve as scouts and air sensors.
“We hope that Ingenuity will allow us to expand and open air mobility on Mars,” said Bob Balaram, chief engineer of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory project in Southern California.
The flight of ingenuity, part of a larger mission also looks for signs of past lives on the red planet is the latest in a series of remarkable moments from Mars this year.
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