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Mars. Will Ingenuity have a successor? India wants to build a similar machine

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The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) plans to send its drone to Mars. The mission is scheduled for the early 2030s. Will the pioneering Ingenuity rotorcraft from the American space agency NASA have a successor?

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is working on a drone design that could fly to Mars with a rover. It could become the successor to the one created by NASA the pioneering Ingenuity rotorcraft. According to experts, a new mission related to the Red Planet is planned for the early 2030s.

Indian Mission “Mangalyaan”

India’s first interplanetary mission was the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called “Mangalyaan”. It started in November 2013. It involved placing a probe in Mars orbit. The spacecraft conducted research for eight years before losing contact with Earth in 2022.

However, ISRO’s next mission to Mars will be more ambitious. Jayadev Pradeep, scientist at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center, said the drone will be well equipped. It is to have sensors: temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed, electric field, as well as a dust sensor to measure the vertical distribution of aerosols.

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The drone will be able to fly up to a height of one hundred meters above the surface. Thanks to this, it will be possible to create a profile of the Martian atmosphere. For comparison, Ingenuity reached an altitude of up to 24 meters during a flight of over two hours and covered a horizontal distance of 17 kilometers.

Ingenuity drone

In February 2021, Ingenuity landed with NASA’s Perseverance rover in the Jezero Crater on Mars. The rotorcraft made as many as 72 flights on the Red Planet, although its mission included only five flights. Due to damage to the rotor blades, it was grounded in January 2024.

India is not the only country drawing inspiration from NASA. China has at least several concepts for creating Mars drones, including one that could play a role in the country’s planned mission to return samples from Mars.

Perseverance captured the Ingenuity drone (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS)NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

Main photo source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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