An expanded innovation helicopter mission on Mars

It will now be responsible for assisting the robot in its main mission, searching for ancient life on Mars, for example by going to explore places of scientific interest, which cannot be reached with four wheels, or by determining the safest path.

Creativity will move from a technology demonstration mission, where we demonstrate the technical capabilities of a helicopter, to an operations demonstration mission, where we collect information on the helicopter’s ability to provide operational support to Perseverance.Lori Glaze, NASA’s director of planetary studies, told a news conference.

In 30 days we will assess our whereaboutsShe added that the US space agency does not rule out extending the experiment further after that.

More creativity It wasn’t really designed for a long missionBob Palaram, chief engineer of the machine, made special mention of the effect of repeated cycles of freezing and thawing.

It would also be essential that Ingenuity not be disrupted, as its trips would be much more dangerous.

Starting with scheduled Friday, the fourth and longest so far.

The helicopter’s mission was initially scheduled to end after 30 days, as NASA then expected the spacecraft to move quickly and far to reach an area of ​​interest to take samples of rocks. Creativity at the time could not keep pace, as it had to recharge the solar panels between each trip.

But the researchers finally decided otherwise: We really want to spend an important time where we areExplained Ken Farley, The Scientist of Perseverance.

They think they will find it in the area The rocks are perhaps the oldest material found on the floor of the Jizero Crater, So perseverance landed last February as well The rocks deposited in the middle of the lake that once filled this crater, It is to explain.

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It is the kind of environment that we think is most favorable to life by living things that may have existed on Mars billions of years ago., he added.

The first sample should be taken in July.

For the first time, Perseverance will collect samples that must be returned to Earth on a subsequent mission, within several years.

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