Ingenuity makes two new flights and record-breaking approach to the Perseverance rover

The Ingenuity Martian drone helicopter has made two new flights. They have already become the 53rd and 54th for the spacecraft. This is stated in a message published by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in social networks.

The 53rd flight of Ingenuity took place on July 22, its duration was 136 seconds. The spacecraft overcame 203 meters, moving in a northerly direction with a maximum speed of 2.5 meters per second. The purpose of the flight was to explore the terrain for the Perseverance rover and move Ingenuity to a more convenient position.

The 54th flight took place on August 2. In its course, the drone rose into the air to a height of five meters and returned to the take-off site 24 seconds later. The purpose of this flight was to survey the immediate surroundings, as well as testing the drone systems.

It is worth noting that during the last flights, Ingenuity got closer to a record distance with the Perseverance rover. On August 3, the rover photographed the drone. At that moment, they were separated by a distance of 14 meters. This is the smallest distance between the two spacecraft since Ingenuity was unloaded in the spring of 2021.

The Ingenuity helicopter drone in the Perseverance rover image. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

In the near future, engineers are again planning to raise Ingenuity into the Martian sky to conduct further exploration of the Perseverance route. Since the beginning of its work, the drone has flown over 12 kilometers in total. Recall that initially the spacecraft was designed for only five flights.

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