The NASA Ingenuity helicopter has been on Mars for almost two years, and this high-tech aircraft is still in fairly good shape, regularly taking to the air, setting new records.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) division, which manages the Perseverance and Ingenuity duo mission, shares new information about the next successful flight of a brave helicopter. On January 11, the second in 2023 and the 39th flight in general took place. During the 39th flight, Ingenuity lasted about 79 seconds in the air. During this time, it flew a distance of 140.25 meters and reached a height of 10 meters before returning to the launch site.
#MarsHelicopter keeps exploring the Martian skies!
Ingenuity recently completed Flight 39. The rotorcraft stayed aloft for about 79 seconds, traveling 460 feet (140.25 meters) at an altitude of 33 feet (10 meters) and returning to its original take-off location. pic.twitter.com/vnKq2uH4n2
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) January 12, 2023
This time Ingenuity did not break any records and did not perform specific tasks. But it confirmed to JPL operators that the device is still in excellent working condition and is ready for further missions on the navigation assistance of the Perseverance rover.
The successful Martian duo Ingenuity and Perseverance
Ingenuity and Perseverance arrived on Mars in February 2021. Two months later, the helicopter made its first ascent into the air of the Red Planet, becoming the first heavier-than-air aircraft to make a controlled flight on a planet other than Earth.
Its longest time spent in the air is 169.5 seconds, achieved during the 12th flight in August 2021. The longest distance it covered was reached in April 2022 – an impressive 708.9 meters. It reached a top speed of 19.8 km/h and climbed to a height of 14 meters during its many journeys.
Ingenuity was originally sent to Mars just to test the viability of such a device in an atmosphere much thinner than Earth’s. Therefore, it was more difficult for the helicopter to achieve lift. But after the first flight, it turned out that it was quite possible. After the first flights, the main mission of the aircraft ended and moved to an expanded one – to help the Perseverance rover overcome obstacles and scout the area around.
Now NASA is considering the possibility of creating a more advanced version of Ingenuity, which can be used as part of the Mars Sample Return mission, which will try to return valuable samples of Martian dust and soil to Earth in the early 2030s.
Earlier we offered to find a Martian helicopter in the photo.
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