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- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) regained contact with its Mars helicopter Ingenuity, after it was unable to communicate with it towards the end of its 72nd flight on the red planet.
- Affectionately nicknamed Ginny, the small robotic chopper is the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet.
- Launched on July 30, 2020, Ingenuity traveled to Mars attached to NASA's Perseverance rover.
- Ingenuity was deployed on the Martian surface on April 4, 2021, after the rover reached a suitable "airfield" location.
Significance of Ingenuity's Flight
- On April 19, 2021, Ingenuity accomplished the first powered, controlled flight on another planet.
- Flying on Mars is challenging due to the planet's lower gravity (one-third of Earth's) and an extremely thin atmosphere (1% of Earth's surface pressure).
- Ingenuity's success demonstrated the feasibility of flight in such conditions.
- Ingenuity operates autonomously, relying on onboard guidance, navigation, and control systems.
- The helicopter's algorithms, developed by the team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), enable it to navigate Mars' unique conditions.
Role as a Scout
- Originally designed for a limited set of flights, Ingenuity's mission evolved as it became a valuable scouting tool for Perseverance.
- The helicopter scouted terrain ahead of the rover, optimizing the path for scientific research.
Ingenuity's journey on Mars has been a testament to human ingenuity, pushing the boundaries of exploration and showcasing the adaptability of technology in extraterrestrial environments. As it continues to contribute valuable insights to the Perseverance mission, the success of Ingenuity opens new possibilities for future aerial exploration on celestial bodies beyond Earth.
Q. Which historic achievement is associated with NASA's Ingenuity helicopter, part of the Mars 2020 mission?
A. Landing on the Jezero crater
B. First successful deployment of a rover on Mars
C. Achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet
D. Recording the sound of Martian winds during its flight
Correct Answer: C.