Nasa is about to deploy first-ever HELICOPTER on Mars from the Perseverance rover

NASA is almost ready to fly the first-ever Mars helicopter.

The mini spacecraft is called Ingenuity and will make history when it takes flight on the Red Planet.

Scientists at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said a final review of the mini helicopters systems has been completed

They've also chosen the flight zone for Ingenuity.

It arrived on the planet with the Perseverance rover on February 18 but has so far remained attached to the Nasa rover.

JPL engineer Timothy Canham revealed during a public update session: "Yes, we are definitely very excited.

"Right now, the helicopter is still attached to the rover. So, we're keeping it warm and fed.

"We're charging the batteries. And, we're also working with Farah's team to identify a final site for the helicopter."

Perseverance will need to take the helicopter to its drop off location and that could take several days, according to the engineers.

Then it could take around a week to fully deploy.

The current plan is to release the helicopter around 60 days after the initial February 18 Mars landing.

The Mars Helicopter Delivery System should release the mini helicopter on a flat surface.

It's test flights should begin no earlier than the first week of April.

The helicopter will be used for imaging environmental monitoring and will support the data that Perseverance is already taking.

Nasa will be broadcasting a live briefing about the helicopter on NASA Television as well as its app and website.

The briefing will take place tomorrow on March 23 at 1:30pm ET (17:00 GMT).

Perseverance – What’s on board?

Perseverance boasts a total of 19 cameras and two microphones, and carries seven scientific instruments.

  1. Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry (PIXL)

An X-ray “ray gun” that will help scientists investigate the composition of Martian rock.

2. Radar Imager for Mars' subsurface experiment (RIMFAX)

A ground-penetrating radar that will image buried rocks, meteorites, and even possible underground water sources up to a depth of 10 metres (33ft).

3. Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA)

A bunch of sensors that will take readings of temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, and other atmospheric conditions.

4. Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE)

An experiment that will convert Martian carbon dioxide into oxygen. A scaled-up version could be used in future to provide Martian colonists with breathable air.

5. SuperCam

A suite of instruments for measuring the makeup of rocks and regolith at a distance

6. Mastcam-Z

A camera system capable of taking “3D” images by combining two or more photos into one.

7. Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC)

From Baker Street to Mars: Sherloc contains an ultraviolet laser that will investigate Martian rock for organic compounds.

In other space news, the DNA of 6.7 million species could be stored inside the Moon in case there's a disaster that destroys life on Earth.

The largest asteroid to make a 'close approach' to Earth in 2021 is set to shoot past this month.

Nasa has released historic first audio recordings captured on the surface of Mars.

Are you impressed by the Mars 'helicopter'? Let us know in the comments…

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