KATHMANDU, APRIL 18

NASA is targeting to attempt the first-ever powered and controlled flight on another planet on Monday, if everything goes according to plan.

Ingenuity, NASA's tiny Mars helicopter which landed on Mars on April 04, will be taking its first flight on Monday, April 19, at approximately 3:30 am EDT (1:15 pm in Kathmandu).

The Agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory will look after this important enendeavour. Participants of the flight include Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Michael Watkins, JPL director, MiMi Aung, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter project manager at JPL, Bob Balaram, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter chief engineer at JPL, Håvard Grip, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter chief pilot at JPL, and Justin Maki, Perseverance Mars rover imaging scientist and deputy principal investigator of Mastcam-Z instrument at JPL.

Previously, the flight was scheduled for April 11. NASA had shared that the 4-pound (1.8-kg) rotorcraft will take off from Mars' Jezero Crater, hovering 10 feet (3 metres) above the surface for up to 30 seconds.

However, a high-speed rotor-spinning test of the helicopter's rotors conducted on April 9 showed some faults on command sequence.

To address this problem, the Ingenuity team identified a software solution for the command sequence issue. Over the weekend, the team considered and tested multiple potential solutions to this issue, concluding that minor modification and reinstallation of Ingenuity's flight control software is the most robust path forward.

The Perseverance rover, on which the helicopter was aboard to reach the red planet, will provide support during flight operations, taking images, collecting environmental data, and hosting the base station that enables the helicopter to communicate with mission controllers on Earth.

A few hours after the flight, Earth will receive data from the first flight. A live stream will begin at 6:15 a.m. EDT (4:00 pm in Kathmandu) on NASA's website, and social media platforms, including YouTube and Facebook.