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Perseverance Rover with Ingenuity Helicopter Lands on Mars

On Thursday, February 18, NASA’s Perseverance Rover landed on Mars as scheduled.  The 2,263-pound rover parachuted to ground 203 days after launch from Earth and now begins a two-year mission to collect rock samples and look for signs of life on the red planet.

It also carries what will be a history making aircraft.  The 4 pound Ingenuity helicopter is attached to the belly of Perseverance. Testing will start soon and, if everything goes according to plan, will make the first powered, controlled aircraft flight on Mars this spring.  The experimental coaxial rotor helicopter is equipped with four carbon fiber main rotor blades and is powered by solar cells and batteries.  It has been tested on Earth but now will seek to fly on Mars where the gravity is 62 percent lower than Earth’s and the temperatures can drop to -130 degrees.

If everything goes smoothly, helicopters like Ingenuity will be able to provide reconnaissance for future astronauts and explore areas on Mars that other vehicles cannot access.