autonomous Mars helicopter, was only meant to complete five flights. But the helicopter has flown 28 times
Preparation is underway for the
29th. Depending on dust levels and the schedule of the rover Perseverance, that flight could take place this week
Now Ingenuity faces a new
challenge: It’s unclear if the helicopter will survive the coming Martian winter, which begins in July.
Since a Martian year amounts
to roughly two years on Earth, and the helicopter is in the northern hemisphere, this is Ingenuity’s first winter
As the solstice approaches
days are getting shorter and nights longer, and dust storms could become more frequent
That all means
less sunlight for the solar panels mounted above the helicopter’s twin 4-foot rotor blades.