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NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Takes to the Skies for 41st flight

The Mars helicopter flew over the tracks of the Perseverance rover

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

UNITED KINGDOM: NASA’s Ingenuity drone has completed its 41st flight, covering 183 meters in just 109 seconds on Jan 27. 

According to the mission’s flight log, the drone, part of NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover mission, landed at its resting spot, “Airfield Beta.” 

A timelapse of the flight shows the helicopter’s shadow dancing over the Martian dunes.

Ingenuity, which arrived on Mars with the Perseverance Rover in February 2021, has been tasked with scouting ahead for the rover and finding interesting scientific targets. 

The helicopter’s ability to fly on Mars and look at the planet’s thin atmosphere has opened up new opportunities for scientists to study the red planet.

Perseverance, which landed in Jezero Crater, has been busy looking for signs of ancient life in the region. 

The rover has dropped off 10 sample tubes in the area and will have a backup cache of material. 

The plan is for Perseverance to ferry the samples directly to a NASA lander, bringing the load to orbit. 

If that fails, two Ingenuity-like helicopters would serve as a relief team and bring the samples to the surface for return on a joint NASA/European Space Agency campaign.

The helicopters would then bring the samples up to Mars orbit to transfer them to a European probe, bringing the Martian rock samples back to Earth. 

The Mars lander and the European probe are expected to be launched in the mid-to-late 2020s.

Ingenuity’s 41st flight exceeded the technology demonstration manifest eightfold, as the helicopter was initially only tasked with five flights. 

The extended mission has allowed Ingenuity to go beyond its original goals and provide valuable information for future Mars missions.

This historic flight is another step forward in our understanding of the Red Planet and how future missions can utilize the aerial perspective of Ingenuity.

Also Read: NASA Will Test Nuclear Rockets to Send Astronauts to Mars Swiftly


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