Nasa’s Ingenuity mini-helicopter has been dropped on the surface of Mars in preparation for its first flight, the US space agency said.
On February 18, The ultra-light aircraft had been fixed to the belly of the Perseverance rover, which touched down on the Red Planet.
On Saturday, Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory tweeted,
A photograph accompanying the tweet showed Perseverance had driven clear of the helicopter and its “airfield” after dropping to the surface.
Ingenuity had been feeding off the Perseverance’s power system but will now have to use its own battery to run a vital heater to protect its unshielded electrical components from freezing and cracking during the bitter Martian night.
It was updated On Friday, “This heater keeps the interior at about 45 degrees F (7 degrees Celsius) through the bitter cold of the Martian night, where temperatures can drop to as low as -130F (-90 degrees Celsius),” Bob Balaram, Mars Helicopter Project chief engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.