NASA's Mars Helicopter Ingenuity continues to soar high in its mission in the Red Planet, even as it was designed to fly for five times only.
As of writing, Space.com reported that the Mars helicopter has already finished its 12 flights on the Martian planet last Aug. 16, Monday, accompanying its sibling, the NASA Perseverance Mars rover.
The last flight of the Mars Ingenuity on the Red Planet provided a vision for the Perseverance rover.
NASA Mars Helicopter Ingenuity
It is worth noting that the NASA Mars Helicopter made its first flight last April 19, which was already six months ago.
Also, its launch was a highly anticipated milestone as it is the first aircraft that was able to fly on the Red Planet.
It is to add that the team behind the special project of the United States space agency worked for it for six years.
The ultra-lightweight robot, which is the first-ever controlled flight on the Martian planet, was given the moniker Ingenuity.
The Mars Helicopter project did not only take years to develop, it was also a hefty endeavor to the tune of $85 million.
NASA Mars Helicopter Ingenuity Dozen Flights
The first flight of the Ingenuity on the Red Planet was merely to test the accuracy of the data the Mars helicopter is beaming to the Reconnaissance Orbiter on the planet.
After its first flight, the pioneering helicopter on Mars went on to defy initial expectations and prevailed to another 11 more flights, and it's still not giving up.
Although the Mars chopper has gone to a dozen flights, its sixth mission figured in a hiccup wherein it was knocked off after a malfunction.
However, it still landed safe and the problem was fixed later on--surpassing its supposed number of flights.
It is worth adding that the 12th flight of the Mars chopper was a risky mission for the spacecraft.
Its latest mission was to explore the region called South Sèítah, which even NASA's plan dubbed as something "ambitious," adding that it "carries substantial risk because of the varied terrain."
Nevertheless, NASA scientists went on to face the risk as it would be significantly beneficial for the Perseverance Mars rover team, and they did not want to lose the opportunity.
How NASA Mars Helicopter Ingenuity Surpassed Its Supposed Number of Flights
As per France24, the head of the mechanical engineering team of Ingenuity, Josh Ravich, boasted that "everything is working so well."
Ravich even further noted that the Mars chopper is exceeding initial expectations, adding that he personally doubted that it would work in the first place.
The head mechanical engineer expounded that the air on Mars is one thing to consider due to its density, which is far off from our home planet.
Nevertheless, Ravich noted that the Ingenuity stayed along with them due to the favorable environment on Mars, consisting of the wind, temperature, dust, and sun.
That said, the Ingenuity is still staying strong and will continue with its mission on the Red Planet, alongside the NASA Mars rover.
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Written by Teejay Boris