NASA invites public to take flight with Ingenuity Mars helicopter

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NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter is seen in a close-up taken by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard the Perseverance rover. This image was taken on April 5, 2021, the 45th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU photograph)
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NASA is targeting no earlier than April 11, for Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s first attempt at powered, controlled flight on another planet.

The agency is hosting several events to bring people along for the ride.

A livestream confirming Ingenuity’s first flight is targeted to begin around 3:30 a.m., EDT, April 12, on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website, and will livestream on multiple agency social media platforms, including the JPL YouTube and Facebook channels.

Ingenuity arrived at Mars’ Jezero Crater Feb. 18, attached to the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover. The helicopter is a technology demonstration with a planned test flight duration of up to 31 days (30 Mars days, or sols). The rover will provide support during flight operations, taking images, collecting environmental data, and hosting the base station that enables the helicopter to communicate with mission controllers on Earth.

The flight date may shift as engineers work on the deployments, preflight checks, and vehicle positioning of both Perseverance and Ingenuity. Timing for events will be updated as needed, and the latest schedule will be available on the helicopter’s Watch Online webpage.

News Briefing and Televised Event Schedule

Virtual media briefings before and after Ingenuity’s first flight attempt and the livestream coverage of the flight attempt will originate from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

A preflight briefing at 1 p.m., EDT, April 9, will provide the latest details on the helicopter’s operations and what to expect on the first flight day.

Briefing participants are expected to include:
* Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science, NASA Headquarters
* MiMi Aung, Ingenuity project manager, JPL
* Tim Canham, Ingenuity operations lead, JPL
* Amelia Quon, Ingenuity chamber test engineer, JPL
* Elsa Jensen, Mastcam-Z uplink operations lead, Malin Space Science Systems

If the helicopter flies on April 11, as expected, the livestream will show the helicopter team analyzing the first test flight data in JPL’s Space Flight Operations Facility beginning at 3:30 a.m., EDT, 12:30 a.m., PDT, April 12.

A postflight briefing is expected to take place at 11 a.m., EDT, April 12.

Public, student opportunities
On Thursday, April 8, at 1 p.m., EDT, students can watch a special conversation with members of the rover and helicopter teams on the NASA-JPL Edu YouTube channel and NASA TV.
A series of informal talks, titled, “Taking Flight: How Girls Can Grow Up to Be Engineers,” will take place , April 15; , April 22; and April 29; at 4 p.m., EDT each day, with exact dates and times based on Ingenuity’s first flight. The talks will focus on helping girls chart a path to engineering and provide invitations to special events for girls and women interested in the field.

More about Ingenuity
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter technology demonstration is supported by NASA’s Science, Aeronautics Research, and Space Technology mission directorates. JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, Calif., built and manages operations for Ingenuity and the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover.

Follow Ingenuity via the @NASA, @NASAJPL, and @NASAMars Twitter accounts; NASA and NASAPersevere Facebook accounts; and NASA Instagram account. Join the conversation, ask questions, and get answers online by using #MarsHelicopter.
 
 
 

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