On April 19, the Ingenuity drone helicopter celebrated the second anniversary of its debut Mars flight. In honor of this event, NASA has published a unique image of the rotorcraft. On it you can see the dust accumulated on its vanes.
The Ingenuity image was taken by the Perseverance rover on April 16, 2023. When photographed, it was at a distance of 23 meters from the drone. This is the smallest distance between the two Martian explorers since the beginning of the Ingenuity flights. NASA specialists took this opportunity to photograph the helicopter.
The Ingenuity image shows the infamous Martian dust accumulated on the vanes and the Ingenuity solar battery. It is the eternal enemy of the missions exploring the surface of the Red Planet, receiving energy from solar panels. It was the dust that led to the termination of the InSight spacecraft.
Since Ingenuity makes regular flights, dust does not have time to accumulate on its battery in an amount that can interfere with the continuation of its mission. At the same time, due to the very low density of the Martian atmosphere, the air currents flowing around the drone during flight are also unable to completely clear it of dust.
Recall that Ingenuity recently made its 50th anniversary flight. During its mission, the drone flew a total distance of 11.58 km, spending 89 minutes and 9 seconds in the air.
According to https://www.jpl.nasa.gov
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