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Thu, Sep 07, 2023

NASA's Ingenuity Rides Again

"The Little Copter That Could", Does, Once Again

NASA's remote-control whirlybird on Mars has logged another sortie in its book with a 1,344-foot flight on August 26th.

The Ingenuity Mars helicopter program has continued, against all expectations. Originally expected to serve as a proof-of-concept before losing power or functionality, the aircraft has continued on to log 56 flights in all. Its most recent flight held it aloft for 2 and a half minutes, flying at 39 ft AGL as it repositioned itself to a better vantage point for future missions. Ingenuity has continued to assist its sister, the Perseverance rover, with photo recon and survey as the duo searches for high-quality samples to send back home for analysis. The 28-mile-wide Jezero crater has been their home for more than 100 minutes of flight time, hopefully home to promising study once sufficient samples are collected. If successful, Perseverance will hopefully collect evidence of microbial life in the past. 

The Mars Helicopter has managed to keep running through 885 days of extreme Martian weather as it heads on to prepare for mission 57 - far longer than initially imagined. Due to some of the delays in announcing flight progress, and the time required to finish sending back all its imagery, telemetry, and control data, the planned flight should be announced sometime soon.

FMI: www.mars.nasa.gov

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