Coming in at four pounds and four feet long, NASA’s Mars helicopter is ready for takeoff later this year — but first, it needed a name.
The autonomous, solar-powered craft is scheduled to make it onto Mars by early next year after it catches a flight on the belly of the new Mars rover, Perseverance, this July or August. Like the rover, the helicopter, which has two rotors that spin 2,400 revolutions per minute, was named as part of a student essay contest. The winning name was announced Wednesday: Ingenuity.
High-school student Vaneeza Rupani from Alabama picked the name. Her suggestion was selected from 28,000 essays submitted to NASA.
The device has two cameras and could one day capture images of the Red Planet. But first, it has to prove its, um, genius, showing it will be able to fly in the Martian atmosphere as part of the experimental journey, separate from Perseverance’s Mars mission.
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