“There will be surprises, and you will be learning about them right at the same time that we will. So let’s all get the popcorn,” said Elsa Jensen, who oversees the cameras on the rover.
Four outcomes are possible, said Aung: full success, partial success, insufficient or no data coming back, or failure.
If the flight is a success, NASA plans another no more than four days later. It plans as many as five altogether, each successively more difficult, over the course of a month.
NASA hopes to make the helicopter rise five meters (16 feet) and then move laterally.
Ingenuity’s “lifetime will be determined by how well it lands” each time, said Aung—meaning whether it crashes.
“Once we get to the fourth and fifth flight, we’ll have fun,” she said. “We are going to take very bold flights and take high risk.”
NASA’s Mars copter flight could happen as soon as Monday
NASA aims for historic helicopter flight on Mars (2021, April 19)
retrieved 19 April 2021
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