It's going to be a little bit longer until NASA officially launches Ingenuity into the air on Mars. The Martian helicopter was originally set to make history on Sunday as the first human-built craft to fly on the Red Planet. That was subsequently delayed until Wednesday and now, NASA says it doesn't plan on launching the craft until it can roll out a software update. In a new release, officials say they now expect the launch to take place no earlier than next week.
In the release, NASA says those working on Ingenuity will set a launch date then. It should be noted the helicopter is still operable and able to fly, and officials simply want to rectify some programming that could cause issues during the flight.
"Ingenuity continues to be healthy on the surface on Mars. Critical functions such as power, communications, and thermal control are stable," NASA's latest statement reads. "It is not unexpected for a technology demonstration like this to encounter challenges that need to be worked in real time."
The statement adds, "The high-risk, high-reward approach we have taken to the first powered, controlled flight on another planet allows us to push the performance envelope in ways we could not with a mission designed to last for years such as Perseverance. In the meantime, while the Ingenuity team does its work, Perseverance will continue to do science with its suite of instruments and is gearing up for a test of the MOXIE technology demonstration."
Ingenuity is a part of NASA'S Mars exploration program, arriving on the planet alongside the outfit's Perseverance rover. Together, Ingenuity and Perseverance are exploring the planet's Jezero Crater in hopes of finding signs of microbial life.
“This landing is one of those pivotal moments for NASA, the United States, and space exploration globally – when we know we are on the cusp of discovery and sharpening our pencils, so to speak, to rewrite the textbooks,” acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said in a press release after the Perseverance rover first landed. “The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission embodies our nation’s spirit of persevering even in the most challenging of situations, inspiring, and advancing science and exploration. The mission itself personifies the human ideal of persevering toward the future and will help us prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet in the 2030s.”