Scientists at NASA have confirmed that the mini-helicopter Ingenuity has survived its first night of subzero temperatures on the surface of Mars.
The Ingenuity was dropped from the Perseverance rover to the surface of the planet on Saturday. The four pound mini-chopper will now have to rely on its own solar powered heater to stay warm and prevent any of its electronics from freezing.
The surface of Mars can see temperatures as a low as -130 degrees Fahrenheit during the night.
Having survived its first solo night on Mars, the Ingenuity will now proceed with further testing in preparation for the first-ever flight to take place on the red planet. NASA has called Ingenuity’s survival of Mars’ subzero temperatures a “major milestone for the small rotorcraft”.
Should all tests proceed as planned, the Ingenuity will launch its first flight on the evening of April 11. All flight tests for the Ingenuity will be sent as preprogrammed flight data, due to delays in transmission time between Earth and Mars. The first flight test will try to make the craft hover for 20 seconds, then land again.
While not equipped with any scientific measuring tools, the Ingenuity is equipped with a high-resolution camera that will take photos of Mars during its planned flight tests.