NASA said that the helicopter drone, scheduled to make humanity’s first flight to another planet, has landed on Mars.
The images show the four-legged spacecraft parked on the surface of the Red Planet – after boarding there aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover – before it takes off April 1 for the first of up to five flights of 90 seconds duration, “The Verge” reported.
NASA said in a statement last month that the lightweight drone – called Ingenuity – would spend the days leading up to its maiden flight collecting energy from the sun, to keep operating during extremely cold Mars nights.
When the helicopter is ready to move, it will take a NASA team in California about six Mars days – only four hours from Earth – to fly the drone to altitude at a rate of three feet per second.
The drone takes eight hours to communicate its movements, with engineers on the ground, and NASA said that the vehicle will be able to fly about 10 feet above the surface for 30 seconds, and NASA officials hope that the technology will allow researchers and space explorers in the future to better see the geography of the planet.
Temperatures on the planet could drop to -130 degrees Fahrenheit, according to chief engineer of the project Bob Palram, and the very thin atmosphere at surface level makes flying particularly difficult.