Instead of being abandoned at the end of the “30 days of Ingenuity” it was planned to last, the mission will now change into an “oeprations demonstration”, to see how it might help do science work.
Project manager MiMi Aung said the change of plan was like “Ingenuity is graduating” as it goes on to conduct more ambitious missions.
That will help show how a rotorcraft like Ingenuity can be used to support science missions. It will be able to gather detailed data from above about the way the land is shaped, for instance.
It will do so in collaboration with Perseverance, the rover it travelled to the Martian surface with and which is currently surveying the red planet from the ground.
Its next flight, its fourth in total, will see it fly 130 meters away from its current spot, and then back to the area known as “Wright Brothers Field”, the first airfield on another planet. During that long flight,…