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Categories: Tech

NASA Again Delays Helicopter Test Flight On Mars | Voice Of America

Scientists from the US space agency, NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) say that the long-awaited first flight of the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars has been delayed again while scientists make some software modifications. Scientists expected to make the first controlled flight of an aircraft on a planet other than Earth on Sunday. However, following problems encountered last week when high-speed tests were carried out on the rotors, the change to “pre-flight” means that no attempt will be made to fly the helicopter on Wednesday as planned. A statement released by JPL on Tuesday said they identified a software fix to the problem, but that it would take some time to implement. They said it is unclear at this time when the small helicopter will make its first short flight, but it will likely be next week. Scientists say that all other systems on the Ingenuity helicopter are working as designed. Ingenuity, which weighs just 1.8 kilograms and was stored in the Perseverance rover probe when it landed on Mars in February. It was unfolded and dropped from the rover just over a week ago to prepare for its launch. NASA sees the helicopter as a technology demonstration, designed to test a new capability – in this case, flight in the thin Martian atmosphere – for the first time. It has specially designed rotors that spin much faster than they would have to on Earth to achieve flight. It also has innovative batteries and solar cells to recharge. But aside from cameras, Ingenuity doesn’t carry scientific instruments. If successful, the Ingenuity will pave the way for other more ambitious future robotic projects.

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