NASA's helicopter mission to Mars performed better than expected

 This miniature helicopter has become a frequent visitor to Perseverance rover, and its core mission is to find signs of ancient life on Mars.

"Everything is working well," said Josh Ravich, head of Ingenuity's mechanical engineering team. "On the surface, our performance was better than we expected."

Hundreds of people contributed to the project, but only about 12 people currently retain their daily roles.

Ravitch joined the team five years ago.

"When I have the opportunity to participate in the helicopter project, I think my reaction is the same as everyone else:'Is this possible?'"

His initial suspicion is understandable: the density of air on Mars is only 1% of the Earth's atmosphere. In contrast, flying a helicopter on Mars is like flying in thin air nearly 20 miles (30 kilometers) above the Earth.

Going to Mars is not easy at first.