https://phys.org/news/2021-09-months-ma ... opter.html
by Lucie Aubourg
NASA's Ingenuity helicopter, photographed on the surface of Mars by the Perseverance rover on June 15, 2021.
It was only supposed to fly five times. And yet NASA's helicopter on Mars, Ingenuity, has completed 12 flights and it isn't ready to retire.
Given its stunning and unexpected success, the US space agency has extended Ingenuity's mission indefinitely.
The tiny helicopter has become the regular travel companion of the rover Perseverance, whose core mission is to seek signs of ancient life on Mars.
"Everything is working so well," said Josh Ravich, the head of Ingenuity's mechanical engineering team. "We're doing better on the surface than we had expected."
Hundreds of people contributed to the project, though only about a dozen currently retain day-to-day roles.