An artistic rendering of Ingenuity deployed on Mars. | Image: NASA
When NASA’s latest Mars rover, Perseverance, launches this week, the robot will have a tiny stowaway on board: a small box-shaped helicopter. If the copter manages to successfully hover above the Martian terrain, it’ll be the first time that a human-made vehicle has ever flown on another world — and it could open up a whole new way of exploring the Solar System in the future.
The helicopter, named Ingenuity, is not the main focus of the rover. Perseverance’s biggest goal is to look for signs of life on Mars and dig up samples of dirt that could one day be returned to Earth for study. But engineers managed to find room under the rover’s belly to stow the tiny helicopter. At some point during Perseverance’s journey, the rover will deploy…tech, The Verge