Unidentified object attached to an Ingenuity helicopter on Mars

Unidentified object attached to an Ingenuity helicopter on Mars

On Saturday, 24 September 2022, the Martian Ingenuity helicopter successfully completed its 33rd flight over the surface of Mars, but something caught the attention of the mission team, a foreign object that has not yet been identified.

The small Ingenuity helicopter, delivered to Mars by NASA Mars, was to carry out five test flights over the surface of Mars, the first of which took place on 19 April 2021, followed by many others, until Saturday 24 September 2022, when Ingenuity flew 33rd!

The flight took place on the Sole 567, the 567th Martian day of the Perseverance mission on Mars. Ingenuity rose 10 metres above the surface of Mars and crossed more than 110 metres in about 55 seconds with a cruiser speed of about 5 m/s. The purpose of the day was simply to change the position of the helicopter.

And what was watching his navigation camera was a surprise to the team analysing data from a Martian helicopter, a small piece of something unidentified, described by NASA as debris of foreign objects, an object whose presence seems all the more strange to scientists and engineers because it wasn't on the images transmitted by Ingenuity during the previous flight.

The images show that the object that was first clinging to one of the helicopter ' s legs eventually fell to the ground, but the telemetry of the flight and all the post-flight tests have not yet revealed any damage to Ingenuity. Investigations are still under way to try to understand the situation.