by Michael Persaud/Smithsonianmag.com
Now that the Mars 2020 mission has successfully begun its exploration of the Red Planet and the Perseverance rover has settled into its new home, NASA aims to take things to new heights—literally. Percy, a nickname for the rover that has since stuck, did not make the interplanetary journey alone, as she carried with her a tiny companion with a game-changing dream: a four pound autonomous helicopter that goes by the name Ingenuity, or Ginny (another nickname, of course).
Ginny arrived on the Red Planet fastened at the bottom of Perseverance on February 18, 2021, and recently tested her legs after detaching from the rover, touching the surface of Mars for the first time. Yet sticking to the surface is not the primary focus of the tiny flyer, as she has ambitions of taking flight—the first attempt of powered, controlled flight on another planet, to be specific. Although here on Earth flights are backed by the assurance of over a century of flying experience, Ginny’s task is, well, out-of-this-world. While Mars has lower gravity at about one-third that of Earth, its atmosphere is only one percent as dense, which makes the helicopter’s task of getting off the ground much more difficult than it would be here on our home turf.
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.
She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.