STRANGE! NASA finds suspicious object stuck to foot of Mars helicopter

A suspicious object stuck to the foot of Mars Helicopter left NASA scientists baffled. Know what NASA says.

| Updated on: Oct 02 2022, 16:38 IST
Wow! Second by second account of NASA craft crashing on Asteroid; check in photos
DART mission
1/5 NASA’s Double Asteroid Detection Test or DART test is a nearly $330 million mission to smash a spacecraft into the Dimorphos asteroid to deflect it away from its path. NASA had already sent the DART spacecraft to space in November, 2021 which included a satellite made by the Italian Space Agency. (Bloomberg)
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2/5 This stunning photo was captured 2.5 minutes before collision with the target Asteroid Dimorphos. According to NASA, the target asteroid Dimorphos is an asteroid moonlet nearly 530 feet in width. Dimorphos orbits a larger asteroid called Didymos, nearly 5 times its size. (Reuters)
3/5 This amazing image was captured just 11 seconds before the impact. captured through cameras of a small companion satellite, which was the spacecraft’s camera called cubeSAT LICIACube (Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging Asteroids), was ejected from the DART spacecraft and followed it, 3 minutes behind, to the target asteroid Dimorphos. (Reuters)
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4/5 This extremely close-up image of the surface of target asteroid Dimorphos was captured just 2 seconds before impact with the asteroid. The DRACO system along with Small-body Maneuvering Autonomous Real Time Navigation (SMART Nav) algorithms aboard the DART spacecraft allowed it to distinguish between the larger Didymos and its target Dimorphos, striking the asteroid with precision accuracy, according to NASA. (Reuters)
Hera spacecraft
5/5 Although the spacecraft successfully collided with the asteroid, there is no clarity as yet whether the asteroid was actually deflected. To confirm that, European Space Agency’s Hera spacecraft will observe the impact caused by the collision of DART spacecraft and Dimorphos asteroid. The space agency has already launched its Hera spacecraft which will travel to the same asteroid to observe the impact. (ESA)
Mars Helicopter
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Mars Ingenuity helicopter took its 33rd flight on the red planet which showed a suspicious looking object stuck to its foot (NASA)

"There's something on your foot, Mars Helicopter!" - NASA's scientists said while pointing towards a suspicious object that was stuck to the Mars Helicopter. The US space agency is investigating a piece of debris that got stuck on the foot of the Mars Ingenuity helicopter during its latest flight. So, did the litle green men on Mars, the aliens, did it? NASA has confirmed that “a small piece of foreign object debris (FOD) was seen in footage from the Mars helicopter's navigation camera (Navcam) for a portion of its 33rd flight.” Strangely, the this debris was not visible in Navcam footage from the previous flight.

Thankfully, the object did not impact the flight of NASA's Mars Ingenuity helicopter, as the US space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory tweeted to confirm, "As shown in the GIF, it eventually came off and did not impact a successful Flight 33.” Along with the information, the agency also shared a short video clip of the foreign object debris stuck to the foot of the flight from the earliest frames to approximately halfway through the video. After that it fell from the leg and drifted back to the Mars surface.

The 33rd flight by Ingenuity on Mars lasted for just over 55 seconds on September 24. The space agency says that the 4 lbs rotorcraft achieved a height of 33 feet above the surface of Mars while travelling around 365 feet before settling down at its latest landing spot. NASA has also confirmed that “the Ingenuity and Perseverance Mars 2020 teams are working to discern the source of the debris.” That means the last word on the strange object has still not been said although whether aliens remain on the list of suspects is not known so far.

More about Mars Ingenuity helicopter

The Mars Helicopter, which is called Ingenuity, was dispatched to Mars with the Perseverance rover back in July 2020. It made history to be the first powered, controlled extra-terrestrial flight in April 2021 in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars, and, in fact, the first such flight in any world beyond Earth. “It hitched a ride to Mars on the Perseverance rover. Once the rover reached a suitable "airfield" location, it released Ingenuity to the surface so it could perform a series of test flights over a 30-Martian-day experimental window,” NASA said.

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First Published Date: 02 Oct, 16:37 IST