Touchdown before historic take-off The ultra-light aircraft was dropped on the surface on Saturday after detaching from the belly of the Perseverance rover, which touched down on the Red Planet on February 18. NASA’s Ingenuity mini-helicopter has survived its first night alone on the frigid surface of Mars, the US space agency said, hailing it as “a major milestone” for the tiny craft as it prepares for its first flight. To buy our online courses: Click Here The ultra-light aircraft was dropped on the surface on Saturday after detaching from the belly of the Perseverance rover, which touched down on the Red Planet on February 18. Read More: Marching towards extinction Detached from the Perseverance, Ingenuity had to rely on its own solar-powered battery to run a vital heater to protect its unshielded electrical components from freezing and cracking during the bitter Martian night, where temperatures can plunge as low as minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 90 degrees Celsius).Making it through the frigid Martian night was “a major milestone for the small rotorcraft,” NASA said in a statement Monday.”This is the first time that Ingenuity has been on its own on the surface of Mars,” said MiMi Aung, Ingenuity project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “But we now have confirmation that we have the right insulation, the right heaters, and enough energy in its battery to survive the cold night, which is a big win for the team. We’re excited to continue to prepare Ingenuity for its first flight test.” Over the coming days, Ingenuity will undergo tests of its rotor blades and motors. If all goes well, Ingenuity is expected to make its first flight attempt no earlier than the evening of April 11, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said. It will be the first aircraft to attempt powered, controlled flight on another planet. Ingenuity is carrying a small piece of cloth that covered one of the wings of the Wright brothers’ first aircraft which achieved the first powered flight .. A series of flights are planned over its mission lasting 30 Martian sols (31 Earth days). “Our 30-sol test schedule is frontloaded with exciting milestones,” said Teddy Tzanetos, Ingenuity deputy operations lead. “Whatever the future holds, we will acquire all the flight data we can within that timeframe.” The four-pound (1.8-kilogram) rotorcraft cost NASA around $85 million to develop and is considered a proof of concept that could revolutionize space exploration. Future aircraft could cover ground much quicker than rovers, and explore more rugged terrain.