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How to watch live as NASA reveals where it will fly a helicopter on Mars



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The Mars Ingenuity Helicopter.

NASA / JPL-Caltech

NASAs Mars 2020 Perseverance rover rides around Jezero Crater and orients itself to Mars since landing there in February. Now it is preparing to conquer more new terrain on the Red Planet by flying above it for the first time ever with a small helicopter called Ingenuity, and mission leaders will share the final details with the public on Tuesday.

A live briefing will be streamed from 10:30 a.m.PT and you can watch it here.

NASA said in a statement that the Ingenuity and Perseverance teams “have chosen the flight zone where the helicopter will attempt the first powered, controlled flights on another planet.”

Perseverance has made movements to prepare to eject Ingenuity from its belly, where it has been stored since the rover left Earth, but the small helicopter’s first attempt at flight is not expected until the first week of April. The exact timing of the first flight remains fluid for now as engineers continue to work out the details, but Tuesday’s briefing will outline the possible areas Ingenuity could explore.

Ingenuity is considered a technology demonstration mission, meaning it is humanity’s first trial to fly on another world with an atmosphere much thinner than Earth’s. If it takes off and floats at all, it will be considered a success at the base level and will certainly provide valuable data to inform future alien flight attempts.

Ideally, however, Ingenuity will be able to cruise a little wider around Jezero Crater and return images taken with its color camera. However, it won’t be able to roam too far from Perseverance, as the rover serves as a base station and communications link with mission leaders on Earth.

As successful as Ingenuity is, it will hopefully pave the way for drones that are regularly used as tools for future missions to Mars and other worlds.

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