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Happy Anniversary, Mars Ingenuity!

The helo that could has now flown 21 flights above the red planet.

Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Last February, we watched with bated breath as the NASA Perseverance Rover descended to the Red Planet in dramatic fashion. Attached to the rover was Ingenuity, a plucky chopper that seemed little more than a footnote at the time, scheduled for five flights to explore the feasibility of exploring Mars from above.

On March 11, the 4-pound helicopter logged its 21st flight above Mars. To date, it has flown nearly 39 minutes total, and has hopped between a number of landing zones. Its logbook is available online for those who want to follow along!

A shot from Ingenuity’s 20th flight, with the camera mounted in the fuselage and pointed directly at the ground during flight. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Ingenuity is plying the skies of Mars with a bit of history attached—a small swatch of fabric from the original Wright Flyer, and the first site where it flew was dubbed Wright Brothers Field. We’ll be staying tuned to see how the helicopter continues to broaden our familiarity with the red planet—and we’re anxious to see what might be next in the works as a follow-on!

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