Cleared for takeoff: NASA’s first Mars helicopter flight will happen Monday morning

FILE - This illustration made available by NASA depicts the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars which was attached to the bottom of the Perseverance rover, background left. It will be the first aircraft to attempt controlled flight on another planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)
FILE - This illustration made available by NASA depicts the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars which was attached to the bottom of the Perseverance rover, background left. It will be the first aircraft to attempt controlled flight on another planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)

ORLANDO, Fla. – After the flight of NASA’s tiny helicopter was delayed last week, the agency set the date for the first Mars helicopter flight.

The space agency announced Sunday afternoon that the four-pound Ingenuity helicopter will take flight at 3:31 a.m. Monday.

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The original flight was set for April 11, but it was pushed back a couple times as teams worked to troubleshoot issues ahead of its first flight on another world.

Now, the tiny helicopter is cleared for takeoff.

This flight is serving as a test mission for the agency and will provide an important technology demonstration proving if a future, more expansive mission using similar hardware would work.

The small helicopter successfully unfurled from the belly of NASA’s Mars rover, Perseverance, back in February and was able to survive, creating its own power from the sun.


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