NASA Mars Helicopter Ingenuity
NASA’s Mars Helicopter has officially has received a new name: Ingenuity. Vaneeza Rupani, a junior at Tuscaloosa County High School in Northport, Alabama, won the agency’s “Name the Rover” essay contest out of 28,000 entries submitted by K-12 students from every U.S. state and territory recommending names for the next Mars rover. This helicopter will be attached to the underside of the Perseverance rover, which is preparing for launch this summer. Read more for two videos and additional information.

Ingenuity will remain shielded from debris during entry, descent and landing in a protective cover. At the right time, it will be deployed to stand and operate on its own on the surface of Mars. If the 4-pound, solar-powered craft survives its pre-flight checkout, the team will proceed with testing. Over the course of a 30-Martian-day (31-Earth-day) experimental flight test window, it aims to prove that powered flight can be achieved at Mars, enabling future missions to use second-generation helicopters.

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In the early days of this project, the feasibility of flying at Mars was questioned. But today we have a helicopter down at the launch site, installed on the rover and waiting to board the rocket which will carry us to the Red Planet. Like Vaneeza said in her essay, ingenuity and hard work led us to see beyond what was logical to what was possible. Now Ingenuity will have its chance to fly at Mars,” said MiMi Aung, Mars Helicopter project manager at JPL.

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