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New Ingenuity Mission: Helicopter Goes To Support Perseverance Mars Rover

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The American Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA announced a rethinking of the mission of the Ingenuity helicopter on the Red Planet.

It was originally planned that Ingenuity will work for 30 days on Mars, and its mission will be to demonstrate technology and test the capabilities of controlled flight on Mars.

Now NASA has decided to expand the Ingenuity mission. As the press service of NASA notes, having proved that a controlled flight on the Red Planet is possible, the Ingenuity experiment enters a new phase. Scientists will now test Ingenuity on missions such as aerial reconnaissance and other functions that may benefit the future of Mars and other worlds exploration.

The helicopter will continue flying for at least another 30 days as part of an extended mission, during which the helicopter’s ability to act as a “reconnaissance” will be tested. The decision to expand the mission came after the Perseverance rover was ahead of schedule to test all systems, and its research team selected the closest site of the crater for the first detailed exploration.

It is also noted that the helicopter’s energy, telecommunications and airborne navigation systems exceeded all expectations. As a result, it became possible to continue studying the capabilities of Ingenuity without significantly shifting the planned work of the rover. A new phase of Ingenuity’s “life” will begin in about two weeks with the sixth helicopter flight, the fourth of which took place yesterday evening – April 30th.

In the near future, Perseverance will have short trips and Ingenuity will be able to fly by landing near the rover’s current location or its next “parking”. The helicopter can carry out aerial observation of the scientific targets of the rover, the possible routes of the rover. Another goal will be the creation of stereo images for digital maps of the relief of the surface of Mars.

Recall that the helicopter was delivered to Mars attached to the bottom of the Perseverance rover, which landed in the Jezero crater on February 18, 2021. Ingenuity’s main objectives are to demonstrate technology and conduct the first flights to Mars. NASA is already working on the next generation of Martian helicopters.

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