NASA's tiny copter is still flying high
While NASA's Ingenuity was only supposed to fly 5 times, the helicopter has completed 12 flights and is not ready to retire just yet. NASA has now extended its mission indefinitely and will now accompany the rover Perseverance, which is looking for signs of life on Mars.
- When the helicopter was first launched into space, there were doubts among the team. Mars has an air density equivalent to only 1% of Earth's atmosphere, which is like flying a helicopter in thin air.
- When the copter reached the Red Planet, it had to survive the glacial cold of Martian nights and keep warmth from solar panels that change its batteries during the day.
- Ingenuinty, on 19 April 2021, became the first motorized craft to fly on another planet.
- The helicopter since its landing has flown as high as 39 feet and covered a distance of 1.6 miles.
- It is now being sent out to scout the way for Perseverance the rover, with a high-res color camera.
- There could be many reasons for the helicopter's longevity: the temperature, wind, sun, dust.
- The conditions could have been a lot worse on mars and the incoming Martian winter is also expected to be challenging.