NASA Invites Public to Take Flight With Ingenuity Mars Helicopter – Watts Up With That?

NASA Invites Public to Take Flight With Ingenuity Mars Helicopter – Watts Up With That?

NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter can be seen here in a close-up of Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard PerseveranceNASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter is shown in a close-up view of Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard the Perseverance rover. This image was taken on April 5, 2021, the 45th Mars day or sol of the mission. Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASU

NASA is targeting the first attempt by Ingenuity Mars Helicopter to conduct a motorized, controlled flight on another planet on Sunday, April 11th at the earliest. To mark a month of Ingenuity Flights, the agency will host several events to take people for the ride.

A live stream confirming Ingenuity’s first flight is set to begin on Monday, April 12th at 3:30 a.m.CET on NASA television, on the NASA app and on the agency’s website, and on several social media platforms of the Agency, including JPL YouTube and Facebook, will broadcast live channels.

Ingenuity arrived on February 18 in Mars’ Jezero crater, attached to the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover. The helicopter is a technology demonstration with a planned test flight duration of up to 31 days (30 Mars days or Sols). The rover provides assistance during flight operations, takes pictures, collects environmental data and hosts the base station, which enables the helicopter to communicate with mission heads on earth.

The flight date can be postponed as engineers work on the missions, preflight checks and vehicle positioning of Perseverance and Ingenuity. The schedule for events will be updated as necessary and the current schedule will be available on the helicopter’s Watch Online website:

News briefing and event schedule on TV

Virtual media briefings before and after Ingenuity’s first attempt to fly and live stream coverage of the attempted flight will be from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

A preflight briefing on Friday April 9 at 1:00 p.m. EDT (10:00 a.m. PDT) will keep you informed of the latest helicopter operations and what to expect on the first day of flight.

Briefing attendees are expected to include:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Assistant Administrator for Science, NASA Headquarters
  • MiMi Aung, Ingenuity Project Manager, JPL
  • Tim Canham, Ingenuity Operations Lead, JPL
  • Amelia Quon, Ingenuity Chamber Test Engineer, JPL
  • Elsa Jensen, Head of Mastcam Z Uplink Operations, Malin Space Science Systems

If the helicopter flies as expected on Sunday April 11th, the livestream will show the helicopter team analyzing the initial flight test data at JPL’s space operations facility, starting on Monday April 12th at 3:30 a.m. EDT (12:30 p.m. PDT ).

A post-flight briefing is expected to take place on Monday, April 12, at 11 a.m. EDT (8 a.m. PDT).

Media representatives wishing to attend the briefings by telephone must inform Rexana Vizza of their name and affiliation at least two hours before each briefing at the following address: [email protected]

The public and media can also ask questions on social media during the briefings and livestream using #MarsHelicopter.

Additional media options

Live recordings and live live interviews via Zoom will be available in English and Spanish on Friday, April 9, from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT (3 a.m. to 10 a.m. PDT). To book a live shot window, the media should complete and submit the form available at:

Interview requests outside of this window can be arranged by calling JPL’s Digital News and Media Office at 818-354-5011 or filling out the form at:

Public and student opportunities

On Thursday, April 8th at 1:00 p.m. EDT (10:00 a.m. PDT), students will be able to watch a special conversation with members of the rover and helicopter team on the YouTube channel NASA-JPL Edu and NASA TV.

A series of informal talks will take place on Thursday April 15, entitled “Escape: How Girls Can Grow Up to Be Engineers”. Thursday April 22nd; and Thursday April 29; Daily at 4 p.m. EDT (1 p.m. PDT) with exact dates and times based on Ingenuity’s first flight. Conversations focus on helping girls find their way into engineering and inviting girls and women interested in the field to special events.

More about ingenuity

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter technology demonstration is supported by NASA’s Science, Aeronautical Research, and Space Technology Mission Directorates. JPL, managed for NASA by Caltech of Pasadena, California, built and manages operations for Ingenuity and the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover.

Follow Ingenuity on @NASA, @NASAJPL, and @NASAMars Twitter accounts. NASA and NASAPersevere Facebook accounts; and NASA Instagram account. Join the conversation, ask questions, and get answers online with #MarsHelicopter.

An Ingenuity press kit with more information about the helicopter can be found at:

To learn more about Ingenuity visit:

To learn more about endurance visit:


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