NASA’s Mars helicopter finds ‘otherworldly’ wreckage on planet’s surface

NASA’s ‘Marscopter’ captures a spectacular photograph of mysterious wreckage discovered on the surface of the Red Planet.

In April of last year, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter, also known as the ‘Marscopter,’ captured extraordinary images during its 26th flight, revealing ‘otherwordly’ wreckage on the Martian surface.

Though the flying-sauce-looking gear itself isn’t quite the interesting part, what it resembles in regards to a space mission is quite the marvel.

 

On the surface of the Red Planet, NASA came across the remains of Perseverance’s landing equipment during the rover’s landing on Mars back in 2021.

 

The picture shows the top half of the 15-ft diameter landing capsule, along with its supersonic parachute and surrounding debris on Mars’ surface.

NASA's 'Marscopter' came across mysterious debris on Mar's surface / NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s ‘Marscopter’ came across mysterious debris on Mar’s surface / NASA/JPL-Caltech

An engineer who worked on the Perseverance’s parachute system, Ian Clark, shared his thoughts on the photographs saying: ‘There’s definitely a sci-fi element to it. It exudes otherworldly, doesn’t it?’

He continued: ‘They say a picture’s worth 1,000 words, but it’s also worth an infinite amount of engineering understanding.’

During a joint Mars mission, the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter plunged through the Martian atmosphere at 12,500 mph.

The extreme conditions, including gravitational forces and high temperatures, led to the detachment of the backshell that protected the rover.

The backshell hit the planet surface at about 78 mph, shattering the gear. NASA reports ‘no obvious signs of charring’ and the parachute is also in good condition as well as the connecting suspension line.

Clark highlighted: ‘Perseverance had the best-documented Mars landing in history, with cameras showing everything from parachute inflation to touchdown.

But Ingenuity’s images offer a different vantage point.’

Scientists say 'the picture is worth an infinite amount of engineering understanding.' / NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scientists say ‘the picture is worth an infinite amount of engineering understanding.’ / NASA/JPL-Caltech

Clark emphasised that NASA could study the images for future Martian missions, such as bringing back rocks and soil for analysis. He said: ‘If they either reinforce that our systems worked as we think they worked or provide even one dataset of engineering information we can use for Mars Sample Return planning, it will be amazing.

‘And if not, the pictures are still phenomenal and inspiring.’

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