NASA’s Ingenuity drone achieved historic flight on Mars

Isbel Lázaro.

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Inspenet, September 8, 2023.

Ingenuity, which weighs 1.8 kilograms, completed its 56th flight on August 26, hovering in the Martian atmosphere for approximately 2.5 minutes.

“The #MarsHelicopter completed Flight 56, traveling 410 m across the Martian surface at a maximum altitude of 12 m. The objective of this flight was to reposition the helicopter,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in southern California, which manages the small helicopter’s mission, wrote via X on August 31.

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It is important to remember that Ingenuity arrived on the Martian surface alongside NASA ‘s Perseverance rover in February 2021.

The drone quickly passed its initial five-flight demonstration phase, confirming the viability of powered flight on the Red Planet despite its tenuous atmosphere.

NASA extended Ingenuity’s mission, in which it now plays the role of explorer for the Perseverance rover, which is searching for signs of life and collecting samples.

This team of robots is working to investigate the Jezero region, which is 45 km wide and once home to a sizeable lake and river delta.

The trajectory of the Ingenuity drone

This small drone has explored a total of 12,914 meters of terrain in its 56 flights and has been in the air for more than 100 minutes, as mission team members reported in the Ingenuity flight log.

The flight log indicates that flight number 56 took place on August 25. However, the Ingenuity image database records the departure as August 26.


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