Mars helicopter goes to the most risky flights

(ORDO NEWS) — Helicopter Ingenuity (“Ingenuity”) completed its main mission on Mars. Now he will be given additional tasks related to increasing the risk.

We talked in detail about this car. Recall that Ingenuity arrived on the Red Planet along with the Perseverance rover in February 2021. On April 19, 2021, he took to the air for the first time, and by April 30 he had already completed four flights.

On the fourth flight, the drone updated the records for speed, range and flight duration set in the third flight. Now he spent 117 seconds in the air and covered a distance of 266 meters (133 meters one way).

Ahead of “Ingenuity” is the fifth flight, in which the helicopter for the first time will have to land in a new place. Before that, he always returned to the same natural landing site.

To date, Ingenuity has already completed its main task: to prove by its example that helicopters can successfully fly in the atmosphere of Mars. Therefore, if the fifth flight goes well, the mission will enter a new phase that was not originally planned.

At this stage, specialists will work out the interaction between the fast-moving aircraft and the slow-moving rover. Ingenuity will be a reconnaissance helicopter for the rover.

Now Ingenuity will take more photos and perform more maneuvers. One-way flights with a landing at a new location will become commonplace. Such a program carries much more risk to the aircraft, but since it has already completed the main task, the project leaders are willing to take risks.

It is planned that the helicopter will operate a new flight every two or three weeks. Perhaps the pictures he took will help scientists choose future targets for the Perseverance rover.

By the end of August 2021, the helicopter mission will be phased out. This will allow the rover to prepare without interference for a temporary loss of communication with the Earth. It will happen in mid-October, when the sun is between Mars and our planet.

Note that the location for the first sampling by the rover has already been selected, it is located south of its current position. In the next few months, the rover will explore geological structures, advancing approximately two kilometers. Then he will probably go north and then west to the delta of the ancient river.

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