The 1.8 kilo Ingenuity (Ingenuity) was tasked with flying 133 meters in a southerly direction and, among other things, taking photos of a possible new landing site. This will be the final destination of the next trip to the Red Planet, where atmospheric pressure is already very low just above the surface.
NASA has now decided not to stop at these five air trips to Mars. Powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, Ingenuity’s mission is extended for an additional 30 days. “After this period we will see how we are,” spokeswoman Lori Glaze said at a press conference. “We may continue even longer.”
For the Mars helicopter, which was aboard the NASA Perseverance Cart, the conditions on Mars are extreme. Rotors must make more than 2,500 revolutions per minute in the rarefied atmosphere, or about 1% of that of Earth, to lift off the ground. In addition, solar energy is weaker and batteries suffer from low temperatures at night, when the mercury can drop to 90 degrees below zero.
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