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The first test flight of the tiny helicopter named Ingenuity that NASA was preparing to fly in the skies of Mars was expected to take place today. However, the test flight was delayed due to a glitch during the testing of the helicopter’s rotor blades.
Perseverance, NASA’s tool to search for traces of life on Mars, landed on the Red Planet last February and started sending the first images. Another important vehicle sent to Mars with the Perseverance vehicle, which contains 23 cameras, many sensors and equipment specially developed for various scientific studies, was the tiny helicopter named Ingenuity.
After Ingenuity landed on Mars in conjunction with Perseverance, it remained stable for a long time and the necessary tests were performed for the first test flight. Ingenuity left Perseverance and placed on the surface of Mars last week for the flight to take place. The test flight was expected to take place today.
The Ingenuity, which is a very small vehicle weighing about 1.8 kilograms, is a very sensitive vehicle, although it was specially prepared by NASA engineers considering the Mars conditions. This causes NASA to examine all data in detail before airing the vehicle. NASA hesitates to take steps that will damage the vehicle and put the mission at risk.
For this very reason, a malfunction during the tests on the rotor blades of the helicopter before the test flight caused the test flight to be delayed. The first test flight, where the helicopter will take off and stay in the air for 30 seconds and then land again, has been postponed to the next week, at the earliest on April 14. The vehicle will autonomously check itself using data from its sensors to determine its position relative to the ground during the test flight.