NASA has announced the official name of the autonomous Martian helicopter that will deploy to Mars in 2021. It will be called Ingenuity and will be part of the mission of the rover Perseverance.

The space agency took months and handled more than 28,000 proposals from American elementary students to select “perseverance” as the name of its new unmanned robot. Soon after, NASA officials decided that the Martian helicopter also deserved a name of its own.

“The ingenuity and brilliance of people who work hard to overcome the challenges of interplanetary travel are what allow us all to experience the wonders of space exploration,” wrote Vaneeza Rupani, a third-year student at a Alabama high school. “Ingenuity is what enables people to accomplish amazing things and allows us to expand our horizons to the edges of the universe.”

“Ingenio” is little more than a drone with its two kilograms of weight and 1.2 meters in size. But it will be one of the most interesting and novel scientific loads of the new Mars exploration mission. It will be tied and protected in the belly of Perseverance during its descent to the red planet and will be deposited on the surface below it.

Once grounded, it will perform a health check and your solar panels will begin charging its batteries. If everything goes as planned, your two rotors will start spinning twin propellers at 2,400 revolutions per minute, it will soar over Mars and its two cameras will begin taking pictures in the skies of the red planet.

Will be the first time such an air vehicle is deployed to an off-Earth planet. That will be his most important contribution: demonstrating that flight on Mars is possible as a valuable contribution to other types of exploration and paving the way for others of greater dimensions and possibilities.

As for Perseverance, it is a six-wheeled mobile science lab that will follow in the footsteps of previous Martian rovers such as Curiosity, Vision, Spirit, and Opportunity. These types of missions are essential for the arrival of the human being on Mars and the subsequent colonization process.

Perseverance and Ingenuity will take off on an Atlas V rocket from the Cape Canaveral launch complex next July. The landing on Mars is scheduled for February 18, 2021.

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