In a bizarre occurrence, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter encountered foreign object debris (FOD) that can be seen dangling from one of its landing legs. As of now, scientists aren’t aware of the origins of this FOD, but it certainly seems like a piece of extra-terrestrial toilet paper. NASA says that they detected this small piece of debris from the 33rd flight of its Mars helicopter through the navigation camera that has been mounted on the helicopter. It further stated that the camera was not able to capture these images in its previous, i.e., 32nd flight, but the recent flight that took place over the weekend uncovered this “small piece of foreign object debris.”
Coupled with this, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab stated, “There’s something on your foot, Mars Helicopter! We’re looking into a bit of debris that ended up on Ingenuity’s foot during its latest aerial commute.” Some believe that the robotic explorers of NASA might be the reason for this debris on the surface of Mars and this is one of the signs that we are making a mess right up there in the form of clutter. As you can see in the footage, a cloth-like object is observed hanging from one of the four legs of the helicopter.
Not to mention, NASA said, “The Ingenuity and Perseverance Mars 2020 teams are currently working to determine the source of the debris.” It should be noted that the helicopter is a bastion of advanced technology and has made great strides in terms of exploring the Martian surface and climate. This four-pound helicopter has been providing services for a year and a half and its capability is continuously scaling up at an eye-popping rate.
Above all, this small piece of FOD cannot make any difference to the growing landscape of the helicopter which is gaining ground in space gradually. NASA released a recent update to the incident in which it stated, “All telemetry from the flight and a post-flight search and transfer are nominal and show no indication of vehicle damage.” Let’s see how will authorities respond and identify this FOD and what steps will be taken to avoid any similar occurrence in the near future.