Ingenuity will take to the skies above Jezero Crater Sunday (April 11) on a 40-second flight — roughly four times longer than the Wright brothers' first flight on Earth over 117 years ago. The first data, successful or not, should flow back to Earth on Monday (April 12) around 3:30 a.m. EDT (0830 GMT).
The flight plan has the Martian whirlybird hovering just 9 feet (3 meters) above the surface, collecting black-and-white data of landmarks beneath it along with a high-definition horizon video and engineering data. The flight will also take place under the watchful camera of the Perseverance rover, parked about 200 feet (60 meters) away from Ingenuity's launch site.
"Naturally the team is working really hard to be ready for that moment [of flight], so when we see that first data, that it works … it will be an incredible moment," said Tim Canham, Ingenuity operations lead, during a livestreamed press conference from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, on Friday (April 9).