NASA’s Ingenuity continues to work with the last of its strength on the surface of Mars

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has been unable to take off from the surface of Mars since January 18, when one of its rotors was accidentally damaged during landing. Now the helicopter is on the Martian dune in the Jezero crater. Although it seems to many that Ingenuity’s mission is complete, it turns out that it continues to work and keeps in touch with the team at JPL.

NASA’s Ingenuity on the surface of Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL

The NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) team responsible for the mission expressed gratitude to this brave helicopter for its successful 72 flights on the Red Planet, which exceeded all expectations. Moreover, even while on the surface, the vehicle still continues to fulfill its scientific mission.

A NASA representative said on Reddit that Ingenuity was actively taking pictures and transmitting them to Earth. Even if most of the photos show only sand due to the camera orientation, the team uses them to study geological processes on Mars.

Damaged Ingenuity drone (processed image). Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/Simeon Schmauß

Ingenuity fans will be glad to know that the helicopter’s mission is still ongoing, despite the fact that it is no longer able to take to the air — it serves science on the Martian surface.

It is unknown how long the operation of the device will last. It all depends on how quickly the Martian sand will dust its solar panels. A similar event happened to the InSight rover in 2022, when its solar panels were covered with a thick layer of dust, which made it impossible to continue its work. When something like this happens to Ingenuity, there will be real darkness for the Martian helicopter.

Ingenuity became the first aircraft to successfully perform a controlled flight on another planet. The success of the mission inspired engineers to further research the control of aircraft in the conditions of Mars, opening up prospects for the development of more sophisticated helicopters in future missions.

Earlier, we reported that NASA had already said goodbye to the brave Martian helicopter.

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