NASA Invites Public to Take Flight With Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter is seen here in a close-up taken by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard Perseverance
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.Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

NASA is targeting no earlier than Sunday, April 11, for Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s first attempt at powered, controlled flight on another planet. To mark a month of Ingenuity flights, the agency will host 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 Monday, 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:

https://mars.nasa.gov/technology/helicopter/#Watch-Online

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 (10 a.m. PDT) Friday, 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 Sunday, 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) Monday, April 12.

A postflight briefing is expected to take place at 11 a.m. EDT (8 a.m. PDT) Monday, April 12.

Members of the media who wish to participate in the briefings by telephone must provide their name and affiliation at least two hours before each briefing to Rexana Vizza at: rexana.v.vizza@jpl.nasa.gov.

The public and the media also may ask questions on social media during the briefings and livestream using #MarsHelicopter.

Additional Media Opportunities

Live shots and remote live interviews via Zoom will be offered in English and Spanish from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT (3 to 10 a.m. PDT) Friday, April 9. To book a live shot window, media should complete and submit the form available at:

https://forms.gle/6dbMULmkBe7yj9HNA

Interview requests outside that window can be arranged by calling JPL’s Digital News and Media Office at 818-354-5011 or completing the form available at:

https://bit.ly/mars-landing-media

Public and Student Opportunities

On Thursday, April 8, at 1 p.m. EDT (10 a.m. PDT), 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 Thursday, April 15; Thursday, April 22; and Thursday, April 29; at 4 p.m. EDT (1 p.m. PDT) 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, California, 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.

An Ingenuity press kit, with more information about the helicopter, is available at:

https://go.nasa.gov/ingenuity-press-kit

To learn more about Ingenuity, visit:

https://go.nasa.gov/ingenuity

To learn more about Perseverance, visit:

https://nasa.gov/perseverance

and

https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

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Vuk
April 7, 2021 2:25 am

I hope NASA provides a feed to the schoolchildren of town of Jezero in Republica Srbska, Bosna&Hercegovina after which the crater Jezero is named.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jezero_(crater)
“In 2007, following the discovery of its ancient lake, the crater was named after Jezero[5] in Republika Srpska (an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina), one of several eponymous towns in the country.[6] In several Slavic languages, the word jezero means ‘lake’.”

Honesty
April 7, 2021 3:00 am

I wonder if it discovers any ”Global warming” on Mars??

Reply to  Honesty
April 7, 2021 3:25 am

Not unless they can find some Martians to tax for the carbon credits.

Bryan A
Reply to  paranoid goy
April 7, 2021 5:07 am

Just imagine how cold it would be there WITHOUT their current 96% CO2 concentration.
Granted Mars has only 1% of Earth atmosphere but that makes the CO2 concentration over 200 times Earths’ concentration at .96/1

EOM
Reply to  Honesty
April 8, 2021 5:40 am

Any actual “global warming” on Mars would be interesting: The only thing Earth and Mars really have in common is that both orbit the same star.

Joseph Zorzin
April 7, 2021 3:52 am

Off topic- sorry, but: “Sea level rise is killing trees along the Atlantic coast, creating ‘ghost forests’ that are visible from space”
A PhD candidate whines about the loss of forest along the American east coast which she claims is entirely due to sea level rise- and nowhere in this lengthy article is it mentioned that the east coast, much of it, is slowly sinking.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/sea-level-rise-is-killing-trees-along-the-atlantic-coast-creating-ghost-forests-that-are-visible-from-space/ar-BB1fm547

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
April 7, 2021 1:12 pm

Poor baby… Guess they haven’t taught her much about low country geology at Duke. The whole area below the Fall Line in Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia use to be under water, i.e. the Atlantic ocean. Probably just Nature reclaiming its own.

Doug Huffman
April 7, 2021 4:12 am

Nyah. I don’t think so.

I suffered through the Mars 2020 EDL face-panty show by Affirmative Action fem-STEM presenters, and that was enough.

I’ll look around for some raw video later.

Vuk
Reply to  Doug Huffman
April 7, 2021 4:27 am

Come on man, man-up man, we want to see some manly toughness or courage, after all Mars is most prominent of all gods of war.
https://youtu.be/xYIAcrOjyI8

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Doug Huffman
April 7, 2021 8:06 am

You just have to go to live feed of the operations control that avoids the ridiculous woke commentary. There was one for the EDL where you didn’t the woke, 3rd grade level commentary

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Doug Huffman
April 7, 2021 11:47 am

A series of informal talks, titled, “Taking Flight: How Girls Can Grow Up to Be Engineers,” will take place Thursday, April 15; Thursday, April 22; and Thursday, April 29; at 4 p.m. EDT (1 p.m. PDT) 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.

mkelly
Reply to  Doug Huffman
April 7, 2021 12:01 pm

We were recently told that math is racist. I can’t imagine anyone taking STEM(ath) courses to become engineers anymore. The profession is done.

Vuk
April 7, 2021 5:12 am

Here is a video of somewhat larger ‘heliocopter’ (357 feet long) flying in front of another much larger heavenly body (1.3927 million km)
https://videos.ISS-sun

Dave
April 7, 2021 5:26 am

How many think man will ever walk on Mars and return safely to Earth? Put me down as never. If I’m wrong what would be the next step?

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Dave
April 7, 2021 7:42 am

Saying “never” implies forever, and that is a long time.
But I don’t think we will with current chemical propulsion technology. And I don’t foresee that changing in my lifetime. Besides, at least for the US, the Democrat Marxists in charge of Congress right now are about to spend the US treasury, and thus taxpayers, into such a deep hole to their Earthly special interests and redistributions that manned space flight expenditures, along with most of NASAs space programs, will end up getting gutted in future years.

leowaj
Reply to  Dave
April 7, 2021 9:12 am

I think we will eventually. At the moment, I think Elon Musk or someone of his caliber will probably do it first because he has less bureaucracy to deal with and a ton of clout and capital. NASA flows on the whims of Congressional budgets.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  leowaj
April 7, 2021 10:36 am

I think both Elon’s deep pockets and the technology are up to a manned Moon visit, and maybe even a habitat module for stays of several weeks.
But the realities of the harshness of the radiation environment and costs send supplies will quickly set-in as intrepid travelers on any extended stay there will come back manifesting quite serious health problems. Everything from scorched retinas, and heart arrhythmias, to subtle neurological deficits (inability to focus/concentrate, sleep abnormalities, fatigue).

Then manned Mars missions will be off the table. Also once the Mars robotic sample return missions deliver Mars rock and dust samples back to Earth in 10 years, I believe that will k1ll the incentive to send humans for what would be nothing more than a sight-seeing trip at that point.

Last edited 3 months ago by joelobryan
Doug Huffman
Reply to  Dave
April 7, 2021 9:23 am

A man may go to Mars and less likely return. Mankind will not go to space as the unabled will demand their pound of flesh (from nearest the heart) for their stewpot.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Dave
April 7, 2021 10:17 am

Dave,
Then you must believe that humans will go extinct in the near future, because that’s the only way we won’t go to Mars. We are a species that is driven by our curiosity to explore and push the boundaries. We have mostly explored our entire planet at this point, so the only way to go now is out into the solar system, and we will, as long as we don’t destroy ourselves though stupidity, willful ignorance, and hate.

icisil
April 7, 2021 5:40 am

When I read the headline my mind wandered back to the early days of the internet when you could turn on/off some guy’s porch lights and lawn sprinkler with your keyboard, and watch it happening via his video feed… and my mind pictured people doing the same with the Mar’s helicopter. Maybe too early for that.

Vuk
Reply to  icisil
April 7, 2021 6:00 am

Not in real time, all pre-programmed. Shortest time (at the E-M conjunction) is about 3 min for the command signal to reach Mars, but currently they are in near quadratiche  so signal might take twice as long or even more .

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Vuk
April 7, 2021 7:47 am

Mars is currently about 15 light-minutes from Earth.

maurizio rovati
April 7, 2021 6:42 am

I notice that a lot of Martian dust has already settled on the PV panels. I hope NASA has also thought about how to remove it.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  maurizio rovati
April 7, 2021 7:53 am

That’s why the Whirlygig has a 30 day window or so to complete the technology demo. After that battery power levels will be declining to points too low to both keep the internal heaters running at night (for survival) and still have enough charge for a flight.
The Rover though has a Pu powered RTG, but there is no way to reconnect Ingenuity back to the Rover for a full recharge. Future missions may employ some sort of plugin recharge, but not this Demo.

Bryan A
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
April 7, 2021 9:59 am

It is also a “Whirlygig” and will create a downdraft as it’s props rotate

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Bryan A
April 7, 2021 10:48 am

But it’s still a steadily losing proposition on battery charge with the need to run the internals heaters to survive after a flight. Landing after a flight in mid-afternoon with batteries nearly depleted would lead to near certain cold death that night.

Jezero Crater is at N18º latitude. Martian NH summer solstice is August 25th, 2021. After that, decreasing daylight length, decreasing sun angle, plummeting night temps, and increasing dust will lead to 100% battery depletion.

Also note the solar panel is above the twin rotors. They may get some cleaning from a flight simply from the forward speed through the thin atmosphere though.

Last edited 3 months ago by joelobryan
icisil
Reply to  maurizio rovati
April 7, 2021 9:04 am

They’ve hired local help. This is him checking a camera lens.

comment image

Vuk
Reply to  maurizio rovati
April 7, 2021 10:02 am

Martian dust is dry, it does not stick, so NASA waits for a gust of wind to sweep it away.comment image
Rover covered in martian dust

Last edited 3 months ago by Vuk
Bryan A
Reply to  Vuk
April 9, 2021 8:59 am

Unfortunately the rover is no longer working either though it far outlasted it’s 90 day best if used by date … by around 4920 days
Unfortunately it’s companion Spirit only lasted 2208 days. It got stuck with it’s panels at a far less than optimum angle to survive the winter of 2010

Roger
April 7, 2021 7:24 am

How will that fly for 31 days in an almost perfect vacuum? Are those batteries available to the public?

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Roger
April 7, 2021 7:55 am

You identify the problem of science and engineering press releases written by Liberal arts media journalists.

Reply to  Roger
April 7, 2021 8:08 am

The NDB …Nano Diamond Battery is not available…yet. If you can afford it and don’t mind a little radiation, then you will never have to recharge again.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Roger
April 7, 2021 9:25 am

All vacuums are almost perfect, varying only in their mean free path to interaction. Inter-galactic space MFP might be a LY but the vacuum is not perfect.

Bryan A
Reply to  Doug Huffman
April 7, 2021 10:01 am

Vacuums suck, perfect vacuums suck perfectly. Haven’t encountered a vacuum that sucks perfectly yet

Vuk
Reply to  Doug Huffman
April 7, 2021 10:16 am

Not a lot of people know that “Richard Feynman and John Wheeler calculated the zero-point radiation of the vacuum to be an order of magnitude greater than nuclear energy, with a single light bulb containing enough energy to boil all the world’s oceans.”
https://Zero-point_energy_Feynman

Who needs solar panels, windmills and other renewable energy sources when all that vacuum free energy is about ?

Last edited 3 months ago by Vuk
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