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posted by janrinok on Thursday October 06 2022, @02:56AM   Printer-friendly

NASA's Mars Helicopter Snags Mysterious Foreign Object on 33rd Flight - ExtremeTech:

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter was intended as a short-term demonstration when it was approved to ride along with the Perseverance rover. However, it's gone above and beyond anyone's expectations. The first-ever flying vehicle on another world has just completed its 33rd flight on Mars. It was a lot like the previous flights, except that Ingenuity appears to have stepped in something. NASA reports a mysterious "foreign debris object" (FOD) was hooked on the helicopter's foot for part of the flight before flying off.

[...] Just after Ingenuity took off, a foreign debris object (FOD) appeared on one of its legs. The record of the flight appears to show the object flapping in the breeze before dropping off. NASA says the FOD's presence did not affect the flight, and Ingenuity landed without issue at Airfield X (NASA stopped naming the landing zones after the first one). Whatever the material was, it was not massive enough to affect the helicopter's telemetry.

The team is currently investigating what the FOD was, but it certainly didn't look like something you'd normally find on Mars. It looked like plastic or paper, judging by the way it moved. That means it either came from Ingenuity, Perseverance, or some other piece of NASA's mission hardware — there's nothing else artificial in that part of the red planet.


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