Mars helicopter Ingenuity survives first night alone
The tiny helicopter which weighs just 1.8kg has been deployed from the Perseverance rover and is set to fly in the coming days.
The mini-helicopter Ingenuity has survived its first night alone on the Martian surface detached from the Perseverance rover.
NASA hailed the "major milestone" from Ingenuity ahead of what would be the first ever flight on an alien planet when the rotorcraft attempts to lift off in the coming days.
Now that it is no longer connected to the rover, the little helicopter is dependent on its own solar-powered battery to keep its electrical components warm and protected from the Martian night when temperatures can dip to -90C (-130F).
"The laws of physics may say it's near impossible to fly on Mars, but actually flying a heavier-than-air vehicle on the red planet is much harder than that," NASA has quipped.
Ingenuity is going to undergo a handful of tests over the coming days and if all systems are performing as they should be then the rotorcraft will attempt the first ever flight no earlier than 11 April.
It carries as a memento in tribute to flight pioneers from Earth, a piece of cloth that covered one of the Wright brothers' aircraft wings. Its launch will also attempt to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the flight of the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, on 12 April 1961.