The US space agency (NASA) said on Saturday that it has postponed the first flight of the “Ingenuity” small helicopter on the Red Planet as it seeks to fix technical problems.
The “Ingenuity” helicopter – which arrived on Mars aboard the Perseverance probe – will not make its first flight before April 14th.
And the earlier deadline was Sunday, April 11th.
NASA said that the high-speed rotation test of the “Ingenuity” helicopter, which took place on Friday, ended early when problems arose during the transition from pre-flight to flight mode.
The space agency said the helicopter was “safe and sound” and had sent data back to Earth.
A team is examining the data to identify the problem and will schedule another full speed test after the review is completed.
The test flight will see the helicopter, which weighs about 1.8 kilograms, to try to fly at a height of about 3 meters, stay in one place for about 30 seconds and then return to the surface of Mars.
This will be the first flight of a plane to another planet.
The helicopter is powered by lithium batteries and has the capacity to make several other flight attempts for about a month.
The helicopter faces extreme conditions on the Martian surface: temperatures of minus 90 degrees Celsius, low gravity and a thin atmosphere.
Ignuity traveled to Mars aboard the Perseverance probe, which weighs about 1,000 kilograms and is the size of a small car.
The probe reached the Red Planet last February after a 203-day journey.
It landed in a dry, 45-km-long lake called Jezero Crater, which will be examined over the next two years.