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Sat, Dec 10, 2022

Mars Helicopter Continues Record Setting

Long After its Planned Retirement, Ingenuity Keeps Raising Eyebrows

Ingenuity, the small, flyweight helicopter operating on the barren Martian surface, bested its previous records with a 60.82-second flight this month. 

Until now, the 'little helo that could' managed to reach a peak altitude of 39 feet, with most of its vertical jaunts lofting it around 33 feet AGL. On its recent adventure for flight number 35, the 4-pound, 19-inch-tall machine managed to gain 46 feet of altitude, landing 49 feet away from its takeoff point. For flight 36, it managed to outdo its previous duration record with a 60.82-second repositioning flight.

The helicopter was sent aboard NASA's Perseverance rover in February 2021, designed to evaluate the feasibility of controlled flight on Mars. Initially, Ingenuity was expected to last a number of flights over the harsh martian terrain, but its surprisingly hardy construction allowed a dedicated team of specialists on earth to keep it running in a fine fettle long beyond its anticipated retirement. Through the frigid Martian winter, blinding dust storms, and harsh solar exposure, Ingenuity has refused to yield its post, allowing the team back home to push its limits and continue to refine the tech used to map and photograph never-before-seen parts of the local landscape. 

FMI: www.mars.nasa.gov

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