NASA has delayed by at least several days the first flight of its mini-helicopter on Mars after a possible tech issue emerged while testing its rotors, the US space agency said Saturday. Ingenuity’s trip, which is to be the first-ever powered, controlled flight on another planet, was set for Sunday but is now on hold until at least April 14.
The flight is a true challenge because the air on Mars is so thin — less than one percent of the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere. After the flight, Ingenuity will send Perseverance technical data on what it has done, and that information will be transmitted back to Earth.
If the flight is a success, NASA plans another no more than four days later. The mission is be the equivalent on Mars of the first powered flight on Earth — by the Wright brothers in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.