Mars Helicopter Ingenuity completes record 25th flight

(ORDO NEWS) — NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has just flown further and faster than ever before.

Last Friday (April 8) the 1.8 kg helicopter made its 25th flight on the Red Planet, setting new personal speed and distance records.

“Mars Helicopter breaks records again! Ingenuity completed its 25th and most ambitious flight. It broke distance and speed records, flying 704 meters at a speed of 5.5 meters per second, flying 161.3 seconds,” the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said NASA (JPL) in Southern California, which operates the Ingenuity mission, (April 12).

According to the flight log Ingenuity, the longest distance flown by the helicopter was 625 meters, achieved during a flight in July 2021. The previous speed record was 5 meters per second, which he achieved during several flights. 5 meters per second is about 18 km/h, and 5.5 meters per second is about 19.8 km/h.

However, Friday’s sortie did not set a flight duration record: the figure is 169.5 seconds, set during a flight in August 2021.

Ingenuity will land at the bottom of Lake Jezero Crater in February 2021 with NASA’s Perseverance rover searching for the origins of life and collecting samples.

A small helicopter was placed under the rover’s belly during the flight, and in April made five flights over the course of one month to show that aerial exploration of Mars is possible despite the planet’s thin atmosphere.

He now makes long flights, expanding the boundaries of Martian flights and conducting reconnaissance for Perseverance, which makes its way to the remnant of an ancient river delta that once existed within the Lake.

Friday’s flight was Ingenuity’s second in five days and fifth in the past month. This activity is not surprising: Perseverance is charting a route to the delta, and Ingenuity should keep up.

In fact, the mission team wants the helicopter to get to the delta first.

“This is being done for two reasons: telecommunications and security,” Ben Morrell, Ingenuity Operations Engineer at JPL, wrote in an April 5 blog post.

“Ingenuity only communicates with the helicopter base station on the rover, so it needs to be close enough to have a good connection,” he added. “For safety’s sake, it’s ideal for Ingenuity to fly ahead of Perseverance to avoid flying past or close to the rover to minimize the risk of any close contact.”

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