NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, has now flown eight occasions on the Pink Planet, touring farther than scientists hoped can be attainable.
The little chopper made its most up-to-date Mars sortie on Monday (June 21). Throughout the flight, Ingenuity remained aloft for 77.4 seconds, flew 525 ft (160 meters), and landed about 440 ft (133.5 m) away from its companion, the Perseverance rover, in keeping with a tweet from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, which operates the helicopter.
Ingenuity is a expertise demonstration mission that hitchhiked to Mars with NASA’s a lot bigger Perseverance rover, which touched down on the Pink Planet on Feb. 18. Earlier than starting its science work in earnest, Perseverance started its keep on Mars by testing the helicopter and one other expertise mission that may flip carbon dioxide from the Pink Planet’s skinny ambiance into oxygen.
Monday’s flight happened two weeks after Ingenuity’s earlier flight, on June 8. The success of the brand new flight marks a second flawless flight for the helicopter after a tough sixth flight that examined the chopper’s resilience.
Though Ingenuity was initially designed to fly solely 5 occasions, its regular successes inspired the company to increase its mission and experiment with extra formidable flights. Whereas the helicopter’s early flights started and resulted in the identical place, dubbed Wright Brothers Discipline after pioneers of flight on Earth, Ingenuity is now hovering from one new airfield to a different.
So whereas NASA has not but introduced when the helicopter will make a ninth flight, undoubtedly count on such an outing to come back eventually.
In response to SpaceNews reporter Jeff Foust, the helicopter could preserve exploring for months. Talking with a bunch that advises NASA about Mars exploration, the mission scientist of the Mars 2020 mission, which incorporates each Perseverance and Ingenuity, mentioned that Ingenuity might make “a pair flights a month” for “a couple of extra months,” Foust reported.
These sorties would see the helicopter preserve tempo with Perseverance’s personal travels on Mars to higher perceive how rovers and plane can conduct science work in tandem.
In the meantime, Perseverance faces its personal formidable agenda, centered on evaluating the previous habitability of its touchdown web site, Jezero Crater, and stashing away intriguing rock samples for a later mission to hold to laboratories on Earth for extra detailed evaluation.
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