NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter Passes Main Mars Milestone

The helicopter, a part of NASA’s Perseverance mission, has formally flown for over 100 minutes.

Because it seems, NASA’s Ingenuity is the little Martian helicopter that might. Earlier this month, the Mars-based chopper flew for simply over two minutes, formally crossing a serious milestone on the planet—it is now flown for over 100 minutes. Paart of the house company’s bigger Perseverance mission, Ingenuity has been tasked with happening brief flights to gather further knowledge to assist the Perseverance rover chart its path throughout the planet.

Ingenuity has formally flown for 102.4 minutes by way of its 57 flights, translating to roughly 13,130 meters traveled or simply over eight miles. The helicopter has, by all measures, surpassed the expectations of researchers engaged on the mission. Whereas Ingenuity has been amassing knowledge from the air, Perseverance has been amassing soil samples on the bottom.

“Anniversaries are a time of reflection and celebration, and the Perseverance group is doing loads of each,” Perseverance challenge scientist Ken Farley mentioned in a NASA press release earlier this yr. “Perseverance has inspected and carried out knowledge assortment on lots of of intriguing geologic options, collected 15 rock cores, and created the primary pattern depot on one other world. With the beginning of the following science marketing campaign, often known as ‘Higher Fan,’ on Feb. 15, we anticipate to be including to that tally very quickly.”

Because it stands now, these samples are set to return to Earth in some unspecified time in the future in 2031. A pick-up craft is meant to launch in direction of Mars in 2026 earlier than selecting up the samples and returning again.

“The samples Perseverance has been amassing will present a key chronology for the formation of Jezero Crater,” Thomas Zurbuchen, affiliate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, mentioned final yr. “Every one is fastidiously thought of for its scientific worth.”

“Proper now, we take what we all know concerning the age of affect craters on the Moon and extrapolate that to Mars,” added Katie Stack Morgan, Perseverance’s deputy challenge scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “Bringing again a pattern from this closely cratered floor in Jezero might present a tie-point to calibrate the Mars crater courting system independently, as a substitute of relying solely on the lunar one.”

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