The first flight of an unmanned helicopter on Mars has been postponed. The aircraft was supposed to start a short flight next night, but a technical problem has been discovered.
Director Artemis Westenberg of Explore Mars, a foundation that hopes to get people on Mars in 2033, IncCeit said with the Eye of Tomorrow that the problem has emerged during a test. Until the beginning of the evening, all the signals were on green, but then things went wrong. The computer on Mars that was supposed to monitor the test refused to cooperate and shut everything down.
“ And now people here on earth are going to see why this happened: is this a software error or is something really going on?” , said Westenberg on NPO Radio 1, until that time the helicopter remains attached to the Marsrover Perseverance. At the earliest next Wednesday, another attempt will be made to take off.
The flight on Mars is historic because NASA has not previously let a helicopter fly on another planet. The Ingenuity, as the 1.8-pound aircraft is called, would fly for about 20 to 30 seconds tomorrow at a height of three meters. It is planned that it will later operate longer flights.
With the flights NASA wants to investigate whether it is possible in the future to send a larger helicopter to Mars that can reach places that are unreachable for Mars. Challenges for NASA are the low air pressure and temperatures on Mars and the battery capacity of the helicopter.