Ingenuity has just completed its 33rd Mars flight
Ingenuity, NASA’s Martian Helicopter, continues to break records. On Saturday, September 24, the device performed its 33th successful flight to the planet Mars. Ingenuity was able to stay in the air for almost a minute.
According to Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) from NASA, which oversees the missions of Ingenuity and the rover Perseverance, the flight lasted 55 seconds. The helicopter, which weighs 1.8 kg, rose to an altitude of 10 m and traveled a distance of 111 m before landing at another location.
Ingenuity is back in service after being down for a few weeks due to the dust season on Mars. During this period, sunlight has a hard time passing through the dust, making it difficult to charge devices using solar panels like Ingenuity.
Preparing for future missions
Currently, the helicopter assists the Perseverance rover in his mission to explore the crater jezero. According to scientists, this crater contained a lake billions of years ago. The rover’s mission is to search for signs of ancient microbial life at the site.
Towards the end of this decade, NASA and ESA will jointly launch a martian soil sample return mission towards Earth. During this mission, two helicopters similar to Ingenuity will come into play to collect the samples collected by the Perseverance rover and put them in a rocket in the direction of Martian orbit. Another spacecraft will pick them up in orbit to send them to Earth.
Perseverance continues its direct debits
While waiting for the start of the mission that will bring the Martian soil samples back to Earth, Perseverance continues its exploration work in an ancient delta. Recently, the rover had some problems during a rock abrasion operation. According to a post published by JPL on September 28, the rock nicknamed “Chinyak” completely shattered due to rover tools.
According to the explanations of Eleanor Moreland, doctoral student at Rice University, during this procedure, they obtained information concerning the cohesion and the resistance of the rock. They were also able to observe and compare freshly broken surfaces and weathered surfaces.
Anyway, with the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter, we learn a little more every day about the planet Mars.