NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter Spots Foreign Object Debris on Mars

Mars Helicopter Sol 254 Navigation Camera

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter acquired this image using its navigation camera. This camera is mounted in the helicopter’s fuselage and pointed directly downward to track the ground during flight. This image was acquired on November 6, 2021 (Sol 254 of the Perseverance rover mission) at the local mean solar time of 12:06:00. This was the date of Ingenuity’s 15th flight. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Footage from the Mars helicopter’s navigation camera reveals a small piece of foreign object debris (FOD).

During a portion of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter’s 33rd flight, a small piece of foreign object debris (FOD) was seen in footage (see video below) from the Mars helicopter’s navigation camera (Navcam).

This foreign object debris was not visible in Navcam footage from the previous flight (32). The FOD is seen in Flight 33 Navcam imagery from the earliest frames to around halfway through the video, when it fell from the leg and drifted back to the Mars surface. All telemetry from the flight and a post-flight search and transfer are nominal and show no indication of vehicle damage. The Ingenuity and Perseverance Mars 2020 teams are currently working to determine the source of the debris.

Navigation Camera Imagery of Ingenuity’s Flight 33: A small piece of foreign object debris (FOD) is seen in this footage from the navigation camera of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter during its 33rd flight on Mars on September 24, 2022. The FOD is seen attached to one of the rotorcraft’s landing legs (upper right part of image), then drifting away. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Flight 33 Preview – By the Numbers

  • Flight number – 33
  • No earlier than Sol 567, Saturday, Sept. 24
  • Heading – West
  • Max Altitude – 33 feet (10 meters)
  • Expected Distance – ~365 feet (111.238 meters)
  • Expected Airspeed – 10.6 mph (4.75 m/s)
  • Expected Time Aloft – 55.61 seconds
  • Goal of Flight: Reposition of the helicopter


View Comments

  • Probably more Human waste, not unlike what they found 7 miles down in the Mariana Trench - go 7 miles down and there's a liquor bottle, laying at the bottom of the deepest spot on Earth where not even light can reach. We are our own worst enemy.

  • Why does NASA continue to degrade images from all the modern high tech digital cameras on the plethora of craft it has sent to Mars and the moon for the last 20+ years??

    • Well, consider this. My device can't display a hundred billion pixels within a 4"x6"image. Not even a full-screen super-HD display can do that. Websites know this and won't put up such a photo. And they know your own eyes can't even resolve that much detail on a web page even if the device could display it. The only way to view such photos in highest def is to have them zoomable. That requires a lot more data sharing that has no monetary value. Few will zoom in and even those that will zoom in won't view any extra ads as a result. So, more expense for the website with no payback. And NASA has to pay for sharing hyper-def images. The same NASA that has limited dollars yet has to pay for the Artemis waste using budgets that countries would envy. All that money means money for you to look at pics is not there. Does that analysis seem reasonable?

      • LOL, you could just say you have no idea. It is much shorter. The fact is, the rear facing camera is a B&W VGA (640x480) camera. You would think with the millions they are saving by not posting 'hundred billion pixel' pictures, they could afford a better camera.

    • This image is not from a modern high-tech digital camera. The Ingenuity has two Sony IMX 214 color cameras (4208 x 3120). That's how you know this is NOT from one of its "modern high-tech cameras". This is from its downward-facing black and white only NAVIGATION CAMERA, which is an Omnivision OV7251, with a maximum resolution of 640x480. Yes, that's right, the "high-tech digital camera" that this image comes from, has the resolution of a monitor from 1990.


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