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Watch: Unknown debris dislodges from Ingenuity Mars helicopter's foot during 33rd flight

NASA said Friday that it is looking into debris that was seen on the foot of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter’s foot during its 33rd space flight. Photo courtesy of NASA
NASA said Friday that it is looking into debris that was seen on the foot of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter’s foot during its 33rd space flight. Photo courtesy of NASA

Sept. 30 (UPI) -- NASA said Friday that it is looking into debris that was seen on the foot of the Ingenuity helicopter's foot during its 33rd space flight on Mars.

"We're looking into a bit of debris that ended up on Ingenuity's foot during its latest aerial commute," NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab said in a statement on Twitter.

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NASA shared a GIF video of the tiny helicopter's flight Friday which shows the object coming dislodged from Ingenuity's foot."As shown in the GIF, it eventually came off and did not impact a successful Flight 33," NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab said in the statement.

In another statement, NASA called the object "a small piece of foreign object debris" and said it was not visible in footage from Ingenuity's previous flight.

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"The FOD is seen in Flight 33 Navcam imagery from the earliest frames to approximately halfway through the video, when it fell from the leg and drifted back to the Mars surface," the statement reads.

"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 working to discern the source of the debris."

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Ingenuity successfully completed Flight 33 last weekend, with the small rotorcraft reaching an altitude of about 33 feet and traveling 365 feet west in 55.2 seconds.

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The helicopter traveled to Mars with NASA's Perseverance rover to explore Jezero crater. It made its first flight in April 2021 and has flown for nearly an hour total above the Red Planet.

In a statement at the time, NASA said that the helicopter was carrying a "small swatch of fabric" that covered one of the wings of the Wright brother's aircraft, known as the Flyer, taped around a cable underneath its solar panel.

It was not immediately clear if the object seen in the video could be that fabric.

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