Monday, NASA Ingenuity the helicopter made its ninth and most ambitious flight to date.
This time, space agency said, the small flywheel took off for 166.4 seconds and reached a maximum speed of 5 m / s. This equates to 10 mph, or a fast run. During this flight, Ingenuity covered about 625 meters.
A little over two months have passed since Ingenuityfirst flight of, April 19 of this year. During this initial test, the helicopter hovered about 3 meters above the ground before landing again. Since then, the team of engineers behind the helicopter has pushed the vehicle higher, further and faster on the surface of Mars.
Flying farther and farther away, Ingenuity shows some of the benefits of using powered flight to explore other worlds. The distance Ingenuity traveled on that single flight, the NASA engineer Keri Bean noted, is about the same distance as that of NASA Esprit rover traveled throughout its main mission on the red planet.
For Monday’s flight, NASA flew from Perseverance rover and took a shortcut to recognize the Séítah region, which is of interest to scientists but is probably impassable for the rover due to its sandy ripples. In making this flight, the NASA Science Mission Directorate recognized that it was taking a risk and that it risked losing the helicopter as it pushed the vehicle and its software beyond “safe” limits. .
” We believe Ingenuity is up to the challenge, based on the resilience and robustness demonstrated in our flights so far, ”said NASA. “Second, this high-risk, high-reward attempt fits perfectly with the goals of our current operational demonstration phase. A successful flight would be a powerful demonstration of the capability that an aerial vehicle, and only an aerial vehicle, can bring in the context of the exploration of Mars. “
This risk seems to have been largely rewarded. Not only has NASA Ingenuity Returning unharmed, scientists will be able to study images of a region they would otherwise have missed.