Ingenuity: Last Tuesday (08), NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter successfully completed its seventh and daring flight on Mars. This time, the equipment traveled 106 meters from its original point and landed in an unprecedented area, about which little was known.
Expectations pointed out that the location was safe and flat, thanks to data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) — which captures images from space — but the teams didn’t have any certainty until the end of the operation.
At first, the space agency planned only five small trips. However, the explorer’s performance proved so promising that initial caution gave way to confidence — and as long as the device remains active, it will be used in increasingly ambitious tests.
In this way, he will perform important tasks in the planning of future missions that involve reconnaissance and mapping of rough terrain that rovers are not able to access.
In their sixth endeavor, on May 22, Ingenuity broke a record, as they moved 213 meters from where they started. At the time, system failures put him at risk, only, fortunately, he regained his stability and made it safely to the ground, even five meters from the original target. This was the first time he demonstrated his skills in the face of the unknown.
Until fate do them part
Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, explains what stage the helicopter procedures are at. “We’re at the stage of, like, ‘let’s see what happens'”, says the scientist, revealing that any achievements going forward will be a very welcome bonus to research on Earth, since all information about the behavior of technologies in the Martian air is of vital importance to operations.
Speaking of the Perseverance rover, recording what your “little friend” is up to is no longer a priority. Despite having captured photos and videos of the first five flights, he has now started to head south on the Red Planet, where he will try to collect his first ground sample there. When you put together a real collection, it is possible that you will keep it so that, one day, it arrives at our home.
Thanks to their analytical skills, scientists have found the first evidence of ancient alien microbes, fossils at the bottom of what was once a lake bed. Who knows what else you have to tell us?