NASA has released video taken by multiple cameras as its Perseverance rover landed on the surface of Mars. The high quality of the videos show how far we have come from the grainy days of the first Moon landing.
The onboard helicopter Ingenuity will be making its first flight in a month or two, providing some aerial information but mainly as a test of such flights.
The team behind Ingenuity won’t get to test out the helicopter until at least a month after the pair have landed on Mars.
Shortly after their landing, the shield covering will drop and Ingenuity will separate from its robotic companion. After it detaches itself from the rover, the team on the ground has to ensure that Ingenuity passes a few initial milestones before they launch its first test flight. Ingenuity is powered through solar panels that charge up its lithium-ion batteries for one 90-second flight per Martian day.
This will be the first time that there has been controlled helicopter flight on another planet. Because of the very thin atmosphere on Mars that is about 1% of that on Earth, this takes some effort.
This video discusses the massive engineering challenges that had to be overcome.