The 1.8 kilogram chopper with four metre rotor blades, called Ingenuity, will launch approximately 10 metres into the sky when it takes off on April 19. Ingenuity will hover in the air for just 30 seconds before touching down, providing NASA with an insight into how feasible it is to launch from the surface – data which is invaluable for humanity’s inevitable arrival.
What are the key times of the launch and how to follow?
The Ingenuity Helicopter will become the first machine to launch from the surface of Mars when its lifts off at 8:30am BST.
While there is no live-stream of the event itself, NASA will be hosting a briefing a few hours after it touches down.
The briefing will kick off 15 11:15am BST where you can follow ground control live as the data comes in.
You can watcch the event unfold live on this page courtesy of footage being broadcast by NASA TV.
During the briefing, NASA scientists will be learning whether the mission was a success.
NASA will also be sharing any images and video with the public at this time.
If it is a failure, NASA will analyse what went wrong and how to succeed going forward.
However, if the mission does not go to plan, NASA will have to wait until the next machine arrives on Mars as it only has one helicopter on board Perseverance.
NASA said: “NASA is targeting no earlier than Monday, April 19, for the first flight of its Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at approximately 3:30 a.m. EDT (12:30 a.m. PDT).
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“From the data downlinked that first evening after the flight, the Mars Helicopter team expect to be able to determine if their first attempt to fly at Mars was a success.”
NASA has said there is no purpose to the flight other than to simply see if it is possible to fly an object from Mars.
MiMi Aung, project manager for Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, said: “Ingenuity is an experimental engineering flight test – we want to see if we can fly at Mars.
“There are no science instruments onboard and no goals to obtain scientific information.
“We are confident that all the engineering data we want to obtain both on the surface of Mars and aloft can be done within this 30-sol window.”