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NASA's downed Ingenuity helicopter has a 'last gift' for humanity — but we'll have to go to Mars to get it

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the final message and data collected by NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter before it crash-landed and ended its mission on the Red Planet.

🙋 Q&A

[01] NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter's Final Message

1. What was the final message sent by Ingenuity to mission scientists on Earth?

  • Ingenuity sent a farewell message to the mission scientists, which included the names of all the people who worked on the mission.
  • The message was first sent to the Perseverance rover, which then relayed it to Ingenuity to send back to Earth.

2. What data will Ingenuity continue to collect on Mars?

  • Ingenuity will continue to wake up daily to test its equipment, collect temperature readings, and take a single photo of its surroundings.
  • This long-term dataset could provide valuable information for future Martian vehicle designs and help researchers understand Martian weather patterns and dust movement.

3. How can the data collected by Ingenuity be accessed in the future?

  • The data will be kept on board the Ingenuity helicopter and will not be transmitted back to Earth.
  • Future Martian vehicles or astronauts will need to physically visit Ingenuity's final landing spot in Valinor Hills to retrieve the data.

[02] Ingenuity's Achievements and Legacy

1. What were Ingenuity's key achievements during its mission?

  • Ingenuity completed 72 flights on Mars, spending more than two hours in the air and traveling 14 times farther than initially planned.
  • It successfully completed the first-ever powered flight on an alien world on April 19, 2021.

2. How do researchers view the overall success of the Ingenuity mission?

  • Despite the unfortunate end of the mission, researchers consider it a massive success, as Ingenuity "overachieved beyond our wildest dreams."
  • The data collected by Ingenuity may provide new lessons in the years to come, even after its crash-landing.
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