NASA: The team responsible for controlling the NASA helicopter, which has flown seven flights to Mars since April, won the 2021 edition of the Space Foundation’s coveted John L. “Jack” Swigert Jr. Space Exploration Award. In the announcement made this Tuesday (15), the “historic achievements of Ingenuity on the Red Planet” were highlighted.
The annual award, created in 2004, recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of space exploration and discovery. The name pays homage to the space exploration legacy of NASA astronaut John Leonard “Jack” Swigert Jr., pilot of the Apollo 13 mission command module in 1970.
According to Space Foundation CEO Tom Zelibor, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has raised the bar for extraordinary space achievements by putting the small helicopter to fly on Mars. “The work of this unique team not only changed history on this planet, but also accomplished an incomparable feat,” praised Zelibor.
The John L. “Jack” Swigert Jr. 2021 Space Exploration Award Ceremony will be held Aug. 23 in Colorado Springs (USA) during the 36th Space Symposium. The event, which will be broadcast live over the internet, will also feature lectures and other attractions.
Challenges on Mars
A member of the Mars 2020 mission, which arrived at the Red Planet in February with the Perseverance rover, Ingenuity made the JPL team overcome several obstacles to take off, such as the extremely thin Martian atmosphere and significant gravity.
After a first flight full of complications, when he climbed to 10 meters high and hovered in the air for 30 seconds, the subsequent takeoffs were more audacious, with him going up to 10 meters above the ground of Mars. New flight plans are being developed to take you even further, exploiting all your resources.