The flight model of NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter will travel with the Perseverance rover through 314 million miles to get to Mars. Once there, the Mars Helicopter Delivery System will set it free from the rover’s belly.

The deployment process begins with the release of a locking mechanism that keeps the helicopter in place. Then a cable-cutting pyrotechnic device fires, allowing a spring-loaded arm that holds the helicopter to begin rotating Ingenuity out of its horizontal position. Along the way, a small electric motor will pull the arm until it latches, bringing the helicopter body completely vertical with two of its spring-loaded landing legs deployed. Another pyrotechnic fires, releasing the other legs.

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