At 7 a.m. EDT today, NASA will launch the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rover will have a companion attached on its belly, helicopter Ingenuity--the first aircraft to fly on another planet.
Perseverance and Ingenuity are expected to arrive on Mars by February 18, 2021. Harvard Grip, Ingenuity's chief pilot, said, "The Wright Brothers showed that powered flight in Earth's atmosphere was possible, using an experimental aircraft. With Ingenuity, we're trying to do the same for Mars."
The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter weighs only about 4 pounds with carbon-fiber blades and two rotors designed for the harsh environment on the Red Planet. It also runs on solar cells and batteries. In a report, the small helicopter was likened to the size of a Chihuahua.
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