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The first helicopter on Mars. The aircraft Ingenuity prepares to be released from the bowels of the Perseverance rover



It’s no secret that the newest rover Perseverance has a small Ingenuity helicopter on board. This is the first aircraft designed to fly in the atmosphere of another planet.

According to NASA, Ingenuity is preparing for its maiden flight. At the moment, the management plans to launch the device no later than April 8th. However, even before Ingenuity takes to the air, he has to go through a number of difficult procedures.

Now the device is hidden in a special compartment of the rover in its bottom. A few days ago, Perseverance dropped a special shield protecting this compartment. Now the rover is on its way to an impromptu airfield – a flat area about 10 x 10 m in size.

After the rover reaches its destination, it will unload the helicopter, but after that it will take about six more Martian days to bring Ingenuity to full readiness. In addition, the very process of releasing the helicopter is very difficult. On the first day, scientists activate a bolt-breaker to release the locking mechanism holding the vehicle inside the rover. Then pyrotechnic charges are activated, cutting the cable, which will allow the manipulator holding the helicopter to move to the required position.

After that, the helicopter itself will put forward two of the four supports, and a special electric motor will bring the device to a vertical position. As a result, the device should go into a suspended state at a height of 13 cm from the ground, after which the helicopter will be disconnected from the rover. And only then will scientists take advantage of the last opportunity to charge the aircraft.

Once deployed, Ingenuity will have about a month to conduct several test flights.

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