Mars helicopter achieves fastest, furthest flight yet


Data and imagery started streaming into the management room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, at 10:16 a.m. ET Sunday. The Perseverance rover captured a picture of the helicopter in flight and shared it shortly after.

The Perseverance rover used one of its cameras to capture Ingenuity during its third flight Sunday. It can be seen near the center of the image, flying above the rocks of the airfield.The Perseverance rover used one of its cameras to capture Ingenuity during its third flight Sunday. It can be seen near the center of the image, flying above the rocks of the airfield.

The helicopter climbed to the identical altitude from its second flight — about 16 ft (5 meters) above the Martian floor — however this time it elevated its velocity.

During earlier flights, Ingenuity was transferring at about 1.1 miles per hour (0.5 meters per second). Now, the chopper has boosted that velocity to 4.5 miles per hour (2 meters per second), in response to the plan for Sunday’s flight.

This image of Ingenuity, captured by the rover's Right Mastcam-Z camera, shows the helicopter safely sitting on the surface of Mars.This image of Ingenuity, captured by the rover's Right Mastcam-Z camera, shows the helicopter safely sitting on the surface of Mars.

The flight plan additionally included Ingenuity flying 164 ft (50 meters) north earlier than returning to the touch down at its touchdown web site. All whole, the helicopter was scheduled to fly for about 80 seconds, the longest yet, and a complete distance of about 330 ft (100 meters).

Mars first flight unlocked and 5 other top space and science stories this weekMars first flight unlocked and 5 other top space and science stories this week
“While that number may not seem like a lot, consider that we never moved laterally more than about two-pencil lengths when we flight-tested in the vacuum chamber here on Earth,” wrote Håvard Grip, Ingenuity Mars helicopter chief pilot at JPL, in an update.

“And while the 4 meters of lateral movement in Flight Two (2 meters out and then 2 meters back) was great, providing lots of terrific data, it was still only 4 meters. As such, Flight Three is a big step, one in which Ingenuity will begin to experience freedom in the sky.”

During its second flight on April 22, Ingenuity autonomously flew for nearly 52 seconds, climbing 16 ft (4.9 meters) up by way of the Martian environment. After a quick hover, it tilted at a 5-degree angle and moved sideways for 7 ft (2.1 meters). Before touching again down safely on the floor, Ingenuity hovered once more to permit its colour digicam to seize the view of what it seems to be prefer to fly on Mars.
Ingenuity captured its first color image on April 22.Ingenuity captured its first color image on April 22.

Ingenuity, a know-how demonstration, nonetheless has one other week to conduct two extra flights earlier than the 31-day mission involves an finish.

“Even though we are conducting our flight tests in a tenuous atmosphere over 180 million miles (290 million kilometers) from Earth, we model our methodical approach to experimental flight on the Wright brothers’ approach,” Grip wrote. “Our plan from Day One has been to prepare like crazy, fly, analyze the data (like crazy), and then plan for an even bolder test in the next flight.”

Check NCS.com throughout the week for protection on the upcoming take a look at flights.



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