NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity has aced one more Red Planet flight, the little chopper’s sixteenth sortie.
The Mars helicopter Ingenuity made its newest hop on Sunday (Nov. 21), about two weeks after its earlier flight. According to an outline of plans for the flight revealed on Nov. 16, the sortie was designed to hold Ingenuity one step nearer to its authentic airstrip, dubbed Wright Brothers Field.
“#MarsHelicopter continues to thrive!” mission personnel wrote in a tweet posted Monday (Nov. 22). “The mighty rotorcraft completed its 16th flight on the Red Planet last weekend, traveling 116 meters northeast for 109 seconds. It captured color images during the short hop, but those will come down in a later downlink.”
Ingenuity’s first 4 flights on Mars, approach again in April, all started and ended from Wright Brothers Field. And as initially designed, the mission was not meant to do far more: Ingenuity launched as a expertise demonstration mission meant to fly solely 5 instances inside a month.
But the chopper’s early flights went so easily that NASA determined to increase its mission and ship the little helicopter to scout out forward of its bigger companion, the Perseverance rover. Recent flights have seen Ingenuity cowl areas dubbed Raised Ridges and South Séítah, which function fairly tough terrain for the rover to deal with however are significantly intriguing to geologists, therefore the usage of the airborne scout.
Ingenuity’s present collection of flights is hopping the little helicopter again to the Perseverance rover’s touchdown website at Octavia E. Butler Landing in preparation for making a brand new tour to a location dubbed “Three Forks” for the rover’s second science marketing campaign, in line with a NASA plan revealed in June.
Although Ingenuity is displaying no indicators of flagging, the helicopter’s journey has develop into tougher throughout current flights. The chopper, together with the remainder of NASA’s Mars fleet, was grounded for a number of weeks earlier this autumn because the sun interrupted communications between Earth and the Red Planet.
Meanwhile, because the Martian seasons change, the ambiance round Ingenuity is thinning, forcing the helicopter crew to increase the spin rate of the chopper’s blades.