NASA is reporting a positive status update from its Ingenuity Mars helicopter after it touched down onboard the Ingenuity rover last week.
The update comes before the craft prepares for the first helicopter flight on the red planet and will pave the way for flying robots in future manned and unmanned missions.
When Ingenuity takes off it will be a world-first… just not our world – a martian equivalent to the Wright brothers flying on Earth over a century ago.
Tim Canham, who is the operations lead released a statement late last week that showed both Ingenuity’s batteries charging and its base station operating correctly.
The helicopter, which is part of the Perseverance mission, weighs only four pounds and has a fuselage about the size of a tissue box, making it similar in size to many consumers drones.
However, Ingenuity still has to go through a few more steps before its flight. First of all, its batteries need to be fully charged.
The main rover has only supplied enough charge to get the batteries to 35% of capacity, it now has to rely on its own solar panel for the rest.
After that, the team must be confident that it has survived the cold Martian nights; where temperatures dropping to minus 90 degrees celsius.
The craft doesn’t yet have a scheduled take-off day but the team hope the mission will take off in the next 30 Martian days ( around 31 Earth days ).