Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Ingenuity (left) with Perseverance on Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA announced Saturday it rescheduled its Ingenuity Mars helicopter's first experimental flight, originally planned for Sunday.

The latest: "During a high-speed spin test of the rotors on Friday, the command sequence controlling the test ended early due to a 'watchdog' timer expiration," NASA said in a statement. "This occurred as it was trying to transition the flight computer from ‘Pre-Flight’ to ‘Flight’ mode."

  • "The helicopter is safe and healthy and communicated its full telemetry set to Earth," per NASA.

What to watch: The helicopter team will review and diagnose the issue, and then plan to reschedule the full-speed test.

Why it matters: If successful, this flight will be the first time a human-built aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to new means of exploring planets far from our own.

Catch up quick: Ingenuity flew to Mars with the Perseverance rover, which landed in February.

  • The helicopter detached from the rover's underbelly earlier this month and survived its first frigid Martian night solo, paving the way for its first flight.
  • When it takes off, Ingenuity will rev up its rotors and climb to about 10 feet in the air for 30 seconds, collecting photos and engineering data along the way before coming back to the ground.

The big picture: NASA thinks helicopters like Ingenuity would be invaluable as the space agency continues to explore Mars, in part because drones can do reconnaissance work that isn't possible with just rovers, landers and orbiters.

  • Unlike orbiters, helicopters could give scientists and even astronauts on Mars high-definition views of various areas of a planet in context with other regions.
  • "We have robotic assistants that are paired with astronauts today like on the International Space Station, and so there has been quite a bit of work done in how humans and robots could work together for exploration purposes," Bobby Braun, director for planetary science, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said during a press conference.
  • These types of spacecraft can also move from one place to another relatively quickly and easily, unlike rovers, which take a large amount of planning for a drive.

Yes, but: Ingenuity is a proof-of-concept, and it's possible the helicopter won't be able to make it off the ground at all.

  • The atmosphere on Mars where Ingenuity is flying is only 1% as dense as Earth's, making it difficult for the helicopter's rotor blades to loft it into the air.
  • Communications with the helicopter via Perseverance — which acts as a relay station between Earth and Ingenuity — are also difficult because of the time delay in sending signals to and from Mars, forcing scientist to give directions to Ingenuity and then let the little spacecraft work autonomously.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout to reflect that the test flight has been delayed.

Go deeper

40 mins ago - Health

Study: Over 99% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were not vaccinated

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday released a study showing that 99.75% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 between Jan. 1 and April 13 were not fully vaccinated, according to data provided to Axios.

Why it matters: Real-world evidence continues to show coronavirus vaccines are effective at keeping people from dying and out of hospitals. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been found to be 95% and 94% effective, respectively, at preventing symptomatic infections.

2 hours ago - Health

Biden reaches agreements with Uber and Lyft to give free rides to vaccine sites

A coronavirus vaccination site in Miami on May 10. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Biden administration has reached agreements with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to offer free rides to coronavirus vaccination sites through July 4, the White House announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The free rides, starting in the next two weeks, are part of the Biden administration's push to administer at least one vaccine dose to 70% of U.S. adults by Independence Day.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Biden officials green-light nation's first big offshore wind project

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration today gave final approval to Vineyard Wind, a project off the Massachusetts coast slated to be the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm.

Why it matters: While the green light for the long-proposed project was expected, it marks a key step in White House plans to help spur development of a suite of coastal projects off New York, New Jersey and other states.