The 4-pound (1.8 kilos) Ingenuity’s next Red Planet mission — the spacecraft’s 19th overall — might take place as early as Friday (Jan. 7), according to mission team members in a blog post published on Tuesday morning (Jan. 4).

After leaving South Sétah, Ingenuity will fly for 100 seconds, covering a distance of 207 feet (63 metres). This will take the small helicopter out of the rugged basin known as South Sétah, up a hill, and out onto a plateau.

Ingenuity is located on a sand dune with no distinguishing characteristics, which may make takeoff more difficult than normal.

On Earth, it’s a new year, and in 2022, there will be a lot to look forward to on the planet Mars. For the first time in 2018, the Ingenuity helicopter is preparing for its first flight of the year, which will be the aircraft’s 19th overall. The Ingenuity team anticipates that takeoff will be challenging due to the terrain on which it is operating.

Currently, it is predicted that Flight 19 will not take off until at least Friday. The remarkable rotorcraft has outlived its five-flight lifespan and continues to perform well in the challenging conditions of the Jezero Crater.

Each flight on Mars is a little miracle in and of itself. The maiden flight of the helicopter demonstrated that it was feasible. The aircraft’s capabilities were evaluated on the following flights. The most recent flights have been in support of the rover’s buddy, the Perseverance. “The current mission goal is to reach the Jezero river delta in order to assist the Perseverance rover in path planning and scientific discovery,” Ingenuity pilot Martin Cacan wrote in a status update on Tuesday. “The current mission goal is to reach the Jezero river delta in order to aid the Perseverance rover in path planning and scientific discovery.”

Flight 19, which is expected to last around 100 seconds, will not be without its difficulties. “Despite being brief, the trip has a hard start owing to the featureless sandy landscape on which the helicopter is now stationed,” Cacan wrote in his blog. Ingenuity makes use of a navigation camera to assist it in tracking down its whereabouts. While Flight 18’s landing procedure was hampered by terrain-related warnings, the team is hopeful that adjustments to Ingenuity’s settings will allow for a smooth ascent.

Since arrival on Mars in early 2021, Ingenuity and Perseverance have shown to be a formidable duo in the field of exploration. During the coming year, the rover will continue to roll and collect rock samples, while the helicopter will serve as a scout from above, allowing for more exploration and scientific study.