Mars Report: Update on NASA’s Perseverance Rover & Ingenuity Helicopter


March 19, 2021

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover and Ingenuity Mars helicopter is preparing to deploy the helicopter to the surface of the Red Planet. This video provides a mission update from Farah Alibay, Perseverance integration lead for Ingenuity, and Tim Canham, Ingenuity operations lead.

Ingenuity is the first aircraft on Mars and the first attempt at powered, controlled flight on another planet. If Ingenuity succeeds, future Mars exploration could include an ambitious aerial dimension.

For more information on Perseverance, go to https://mars.nasa.gov/perseverance.

For more information on the Mars Ingenuity helicopter, go to: https://go.nasa.gov/ingenuity.



TRANSCRIPT

Marina Jurica: NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover is getting the lay of the land after landing on the Red Planet a few weeks ago. I'm Marina Jurica with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. I am joined by Perseverance Integration Lead for the helicopter, Farah Alibay. She coordinates the activities between the helicopter and the rover. And Ingenuity Operations Lead Tim Canham. His job is to operate the helicopter once it's on the surface of Mars. Welcome you guys.

Farah Alibay: Hi Marina.

Tim Canham: Thank you.

Marina: Now Farah, what are the next steps for Perseverance?

Farah: We are just about getting ready for the helicopter mission here. We've passed all latest reviews and we're just finishing the checkouts of the mobility system and the arm on Mars ready to support Ingenuity.

Marina: And Tim, you must be getting so excited for Ingenuity to stand on its own on the surface of Mars. What steps need to happen before that for you and your team?

Tim: Yes, we are definitely very excited. Right now, the helicopter is still attached to the rover, so we're keeping it warm and fed, we're charging the batteries. And we're also working with Farah's team to identify a final site for the helicopter.

Marina: Now, for both of you, there seems to be a lot of steps and preparations that go into the helicopter phase. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

Farah: Yeah, for sure. Once we start the helicopter mission, the first thing that we have to do is drop the debris shield. That was the shield that protected us doing entry, descent, and landing. Then we're going to travel several days to the helicopter drop-off location. Once we get there, it's actually gonna take us about a week to deploy the helicopter. It's currently horizontal, and we have to go through several steps, and each one of which we wanna image and have ground in the loop before we get to that very last step where we do that last separation between the rover and the helicopter and then drive away from it.

Tim: Yes, and our team is working very closely with Farah to make sure our plans are in place and all our commands are ready. And we've additionally been working with the rover team to identify the perfect site for the helicopter that should be flat with not too many big rocks on it, but also good texture so our navigation cameras can find their way across the surface.

Marina: A lot of things to look forward to. So to get the latest updates, follow @NASAPersevere on Twitter and Facebook. Take a deeper dive on the missions website, mars.nasa.gov/perseverance, where you can also find all the raw images being sent back by the rover. And for the helicopter, visit mars.nasa.gov/technology/helicopter. Thanks so much for watching and "Go Perseverance and go Ingenuity!"

Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech

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