The latest images of Ingenuity show why it can't fly

The latest images of Ingenuity show why it can't fly

NASA has just released new images of the Ingenuity helicopter. It reveals significant damage to the rotor blades after its last flight on January 18.

Blade problem

The footage, captured by Ingenuity's High-Resolution Navigation Camera and shared by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on January 25, shows the shadows of the rotor blades cast on the dusty Martian soil below.

These photos are a highlight Clear breaks at the ends of at least two of the four blades Made of innovative carbon fiber with visibly missing pieces of material. Some photos even show small pieces of the broken rotor scattered nearby on the ground.

The accident occurred during Ingenuity's 72nd flight over the red planet, when it happened Lost connection unexpectedly With NASA at a height of about one meter. Although contact was quickly restored after the difficult emergency landing, it became clear that the helicopter would not be able to fly.

Unfortunately, scientists will never be able to fully understand the final events due to missing data at the time of landing. However, many researchers Approves To believe that The rotating blades came into contact with the surface of MarsThus ending the helicopter's ability to fly.

This photo shows a clean break in another Ingenuity rotor blade. According to NASA, two of the helicopter's four blades were damaged during a hard landing. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Creativity, a pioneering vehicle

Although the disappointment was enormous, remember that Ingenuity, which was first deployed to Mars in February 2021 with the Perseverance rover, was initially designed to attempt only five flights. Thus the car greatly exceeded expectations by achieving them Approximately 128 minutes of flight time on Mars during 72 flights over three years. During this period, the helicopter will also serve as a scout for the Perseverance rover, thus contributing to the search for geological evidence of past life on Mars.

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Moreover, although the Ingenuity mission is now complete, NASA stresses that it is just the beginning of atmospheric exploration on other planets. In fact, consider this little 1.8kg plane a pioneer. Its robotic flight will pave the way for larger, more complex machines. What's more, mission team members are already thinking about what these future Martian helicopters could look like. In particular, they imagine Vehicles weighing from 25 to 30 kg capable of carrying many scientific instrumentswhich was not the case for creativity.

Once deployed, these new rovers could support future Mars explorers by allowing small payloads to be transported or recovered. They can also be used to identify crossing routes and help estimate the potential of many inaccessible exploration areas such as steep slopes.

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About the Author: Octávio Florencio

"Evangelista zumbi. Pensador. Criador ávido. Fanático pela internet premiado. Fanático incurável pela web."

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