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NASA’s #MarsHelicopter, Ingenuity, took flight in the Martian skies for the first time this morning! NASA has successfully achieved the first controlled flight on another planet, proving that a remote, autonomous flyer can hover in Mars' very thin atmosphere (about 100 times thinner than Earth’s atmosphere) –– an aeronautical milestone that will usher in a new generation of extra-terrestrial flying platforms.

NASA/JPL shared Ingenuity's flight results via a live broadcast on YouTube: First Flight of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter: Live from Mission Control

At Impossible Sensing, we specialize in developing innovations that are important for a wide variety of applications. This includes remotely sampling and analyzing chemical species in-situ to increase the efficiency of environmental monitoring, preventing the need for humans to enter dangerous environments, and reducing downtime and operational costs by generating compositional maps which are orders of magnitude faster than current methods.

Over several years, we have developed the next generation of free-flying planetary explorers with these applications in mind. In fact, we have demonstrated the first concepts of sampling tools and free-flying robots suitable for cooperative robot-robot and human-robot exploration activities.

One of our tools features a scoop-type sampling system that, when mounted on an unmanned aerial system (UAS), is posed to enable access to sites that are too hard or dangerous for humans to access. It has the ability to handle high-hazard materials and also identify, map, and sample resources in-situ.

See us in action HERE

Another innovation we’ve developed at Impossible in the field of free-flying systems is a UAS-mounted sample collection and management system to collect plume particles during low-speed fly-throughs using a conical collector. This tool can analyze the collected sample in-situ without the need for complex sample processing and concentrating steps.

As we continue to confirm the success of Ingenuity on the #Mars2020 mission over the next 30 sols (that’s what a Martian day is called), we are forging full speed ahead with our research and development efforts for future missions into extreme environments, both in space and Earth.

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