Science

NASA helicopter captures images of mysterious debris stuck to his leg

NASA helicopter captures images of mysterious debris stuck to his leg
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NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopterthe first plane to fly to another world had an unexpected passenger on its last flight on Mars: a piece of debris.

On September 24, the drone completed its 33rd flight. During the flight, the helicopter’s navigation camera, or navcam, captured images of the helicopter taking off with a piece of debris that looked like a plastic bag dangling from one of its legs.

A small piece of debris is seen in navigation camera footage from NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter during its 33rd flight on Mars on September 24, 2022.  The FOD is attached to one of the rotorcraft's landing legs and then drifts away.

The navigation camera of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter spotted a mysterious object on September 24, 2022.

NASA/JPL-Caltech



The object eventually fell off the helicopter’s leg and floated back to the Martian surface, as shown in the video below. What it was remains unclear.

A small piece of debris is seen in navigation camera footage from NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter during its 33rd flight on Mars on September 24, 2022.  The FOD is attached to one of the rotorcraft's landing legs and then drifts away.

Ingenuity’s navigation camera captured footage of its 33rd flight to Mars on September 24, 2022.

NASA/JPL-Caltech



During the flight, the small helicopter reached an altitude of about 33 feet and flew 365 feet west in 55.2 seconds, according to reports OUR.

And a blog entryNASA said the debris was not visible in footage from Ingenuity’s previous flight.

“All telemetry data from the flight and a post-flight search and transmission are nominal and show no evidence of vehicle damage,” NASA officials said, adding, “The Ingenuity and Perseverance Mars 2020 teams are working to identify the source of the debris.” “

NASA did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for more information.

Image of NASA's Ingenuity helicopter taken by the Perseverance rover on June 15, 2021.

NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter on June 15, 2021.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS



Tasked with searching for signs of ancient life, Perseverance – with Ingenuity in her belly – landed on Mars on February 18, 2021, after a 300 million mile journey that took seven months. Our robotic emissary will collect samples that may eventually be returned to Earth already 2033.

Scientists’ biggest concern about debris on Mars is the risk it poses to current and future missions. The Perseverance and Ingenuity teams are documenting any debris they find to make sure it doesn’t contaminate samples the rover collects, according to a NASA blog post.

Ingenuity and perseverance have uncovered pieces of interplanetary debris before. In July, Persistence discovered a tangle of noodle-like material, which turned out to be a web of thermal blankets that the robot uses to regulate its device temperature. In April, Ingenuity from a bird’s eye view of the landing gear that helped the rover complete its dramatic approach, descent and landing on Mars.

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