How to watch live today as NASA reveals where it will fly a helicopter on Mars – CNET

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The Mars Ingenuity Helicopter.


NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has been wheeling around Jezero Crater and getting its bearings on Mars since landing there in February. Now it’s preparing to break more new ground on the Red Planet by flying above it for the first time ever with a tiny helicopter named Ingenuity, and mission leaders will be sharing the latest details with the public on Tuesday.

A live briefing will stream starting at 10:30 a.m. PT and you can watch it right here.

NASA said in a statement that the Ingenuity and Perseverance teams “have chosen the flight zone where the helicopter will attempt the first powered, controlled flights on another planet.”

Perseverance has been making moves to prepare to eject Ingenuity from its belly, where it has been stowed ever since the rover left Earth, but the tiny chopper’s first flight attempt isn’t expected anytime sooner than the first week of April. The exact timing of the first flight will remain fluid for now as engineers continue to work through the details, but Tuesday’s briefing will lay out the possible areas Ingenuity could explore.

Ingenuity is considered a technology demonstration mission, meaning it’s humanity’s first trial run at flying on another world with an atmosphere that’s much thinner than that of Earth. If it gets off the ground and hovers at all, it will be considered a success on a basic level and surely provide valuable data to inform future otherworldly flight attempts.

Ideally, though, Ingenuity will get to cruise around Jezero Crater a little more widely and send back images taken with its color camera. It will not be able to roam too far from Perseverance, however, because the rover serves as its base station and communications link with mission leaders on Earth.

However successful Ingenuity is, it will hopefully pave the way for drones becoming regularly used instruments on future missions to Mars and other worlds.

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