Ingenuity made a new flight

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has announced another successful flight of the Ingenuity spacecraft. It has already become the 31st for the Martian helicopter.

The 31st flight of Ingenuity took place on September 6. In its course, the drone covered a distance of 97 meters. The flight duration was 55.6 seconds, the maximum altitude was 10 meters.

The purpose of the new flight is to move the device closer to the remains of the ancient river delta, which is being studied by the Perseverance rover. It is an area several kilometers wide, filled with jagged rocks, fragments of rocks, boulders and sandy deposits. JPL specialists plan to use Ingenuity for aerial reconnaissance of the rover’s route and search for targets for future research.

It is worth noting that the last mission was the first full-fledged Ingenuity flight since June 2022. Such a long break was caused by the arrival of winter. A decrease in temperature and an increase in the dustiness of the atmosphere led to the fact that Ingenuity stopped having enough energy not just for flights, but even for heating internal systems. This created a risk that Ingenuity might simply not survive one of the overnight stays.

But a small device managed to survive the “dark times”. As the weather improved, its solar panels began to generate more energy. At the end of August, the drone performed a short test “jump”. It demonstrated that the systems of the device are working normally. As a result, the mission management decided to return it to flying.

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