NASA has its robots Curiosity and InSight on Mars. The task of the former is to explore the mountainous terrain. The latter has to dig below the surface. After them came Ingenuity, a helicopter. Its responsibility is to carry out aerial survey and it has exceeded expectations. The team of scientists had planned for five flights but it has completed its 10th one. The credit goes to the specialists of Artificial Intelligence, robotics and renewable energy involved in the project.

Business Insider says Ingenuity progressed in measured steps. Each of its flights was more daring than the previous one, and everything went like clockwork.

The helicopter reached an altitude of 40 feet and headed towards a collection of rock features. It then looped back and went to its landing zone. This was about 310 feet from where it had taken off. With this flight, Ingenuity had covered a total distance of nearly one mile on Mars. NASA's helicopter has opened up new horizons on Mars. NASA is working to a specific plan. It first sent Curiosity, and it has been on Mars since August 6, 2012 working 24X7 transmitting images of the red planet. Next in line was InSight, and it landed on November 26, 2018. Ingenuity rode piggyback on Perseverance and landed on February 18, 2021.

Ingenuity is enjoying its stay on Mars

Sending Ingenuity to Mars started as a technology demonstration.

It was a hitherto untested concept of flying in a totally new environment. Business Insider adds NASA expected Ingenuity to crash on its fourth or fifth flight. That did not happen. It went on to record 10 flights to complete a cumulative distance of one mile. It has passed various tests to prove its strengths related to speed and stamina.

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It did face problems during the sixth flight in May which it survived. Ingenuity is conducting an aerial survey of new Martian terrain. It has an advantage over Curiosity, which has to move over rugged surface at a snail’s pace. NASA is creating history on Mars with its Ingenuity helicopter.

NASA is conducting experiments on Mars

Initially, Ingenuity flew to a set pattern. For the first four flights, the helicopter used the same strip to take off and land. In the next flight, it landed in a new airfield. It had previously flown over it. At that time, it photographed, and mapped the spot. Gradually, it began to travel over uncharted territory. Business Insider goes on to say that NASA engineers want Ingenuity to keep flying as long as possible. It arrived with the Perseverance rover, which is searching for the presence of lifeforms on Mars. NASA feels the helicopter is a valuable asset. Its aerial survey helps researchers to zero in on promising areas. In April 2019, the American Space agency wanted to fast track its Moon landing to 2024 and send astronauts to Mars by 2033.

Ingenuity is a solar-powered helicopter on Mars

According to Space.com, Ingenuity is a solar-powered unmanned helicopter specially designed to fly on Mars. It arrived on the red planet with the Perseverance rover in February and flew for the first time in April. Its performance has been of a high order. NASA had presumed it would not last for too many flights but it has completed the 10th one and accumulated a total distance of around one mile. It is an experimental helicopter and duration of each flight was in minutes. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena is home to the mission control for Perseverance and Ingenuity. The helicopter is parked on the seventh airfield on Mars. Mission control team has to define the next course of action for Ingenuity.

The team is examining the feedback based on telemetry and images from the 10th flight. Its focus is on an area identified as Raised Ridges. Space.com says in the opinion of JPL officials: "Aerial scouting aids the Perseverance Mars rover team in deciding what moves to make next."