April 17 (UPI) -- NASA has announced that it is targeting Monday for the first flight of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter.
A press release from the agency said the helicopter is now scheduled to attempt to fly about 3:30 a.m. EDT, and that data from the flight will return to Earth a few hours after the autonomous flight.
NASA's Mars rover, Perseverance, carried the tiny, four-pound helicopter under its chassis when it landed on the plant Feb. 18.
The helicopter is designed for a 30-day demonstration, after which Perseverance is scheduled to continue on its primary mission of drilling rock samples in a search for signs of past life on Mars.
NASA plans to livestream the data downlink beginning at 6:15 a.m. EDT. Monday as the helicopter team prepares to receive the data downlink in the Space Flight Operations Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
If the flight does occur Monday, NASA will hold a post-flight briefing at 2 p.m. EDT with Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate and members of the JPL team.
NASA invited the public and the media to ask questions on social media during the livestream and briefing using #MarsHelicopter.