ORLANDO, Florida: A software problem has caused NASA to delay the first helicopter flight to Mars.
When Perseverance, Mars ’rover, landed on Feb. 18, it was also carrying a four-pound helicopter under its chassis.
Since landing, NASA has successfully released the rover’s helicopter and prepared it for flight.
Still, the helicopter remains on the ground waiting for a software update.
“Our best estimate of a specific flight date is fluid right now, but we are working to achieve those milestones and will set a flight date next week,” NASA said in a written statement.
Helicopter rotors were tested on Mars and Earth scientists recognized a problem with the sequence of commands that would initiate flight.
Officials have pointed out that the rotors must rotate at much higher speeds than on Earth due to the thin atmosphere on Mars.
“While the development of the new software change is simple, the process of validating it and completing its uplink to Ingenuity will take some time,” NASA said.
The rover and helicopter landed on the Jezero crater on Mars, located in the northern hemisphere of the planet.