On September 16, the Ingenuity drone helicopter broke away from the Martian surface for the 59th time. During the flight, it set a new record.
Ingenuity has set a new record!
The #MarsHelicopter successfully completed Flight 59, flying its highest altitude yet – 20 meters. The rotorcraft was in the air for 142.59 seconds. View the stats in the flight log: https://t.co/1CXIWdYIAQ pic.twitter.com/mzxOmJfBXK
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) September 19, 2023
The 59th flight was significantly different from other Ingenuity flights, during which the drone moved to new sites and conducted aerial reconnaissance for the Perseverance rover. The new operation was exclusively of a test nature. The engineers wanted to test the limits of the Martian helicopter’s capabilities.
The flight takes place as follows. Ingenuity rose vertically upwards, reached a height of 20 meters and hovered at this mark. Then the drone landed at the same point from which it took off. In total, the entire flight lasted 142 seconds.
Recall that the Martian atmosphere is extremely sparse. The pressure at the surface of the Red Planet is 170 times less than on Earth (this corresponds to the pressure at an altitude of 35 kilometers from the Earth’s surface), which significantly complicates the task of flying in the Martian atmosphere. Nevertheless, the creators of Ingenuity have proved that at least small vehicles (its mass is 1.8 kg) can quite successfully cope with this task. Perhaps in the future, they will be able to build larger and more complex drones that will join the exploration of Mars.
Recall that recently the total flight time of Ingenuity exceeded 100 minutes.
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