From NASA Ingenuity Mars helicopter now explore a new airfield on the red planet.
Ingenuity made its fifth Martian flight today (May 7), taking off from the ground of Jezero Crater at 3:26 p.m. EDT (1926 GMT). The 4 books. (1.8 kilograms) the helicopter climbed to an altitude of 16.5 feet (5 meters) and sailed south 423 feet (129 m), following the same path it took last week sure flight number fourNASA officials said.
But unlike that April 30 getaway and the three that came before it, today’s trip was one-sided. After reaching its destination, Ingenuity soared 10m (33ft) – twice as high in the Martian sky as it had ever been – took photos and then landed in a new location, ending a flight of 108 seconds and embarking on a new journey of exploration.
Video: Admire the view of Mars from the fourth flight of the Ingenuity helicopter
“We bid farewell to our first Martian home, Wright Brothers Field, with our grateful thanks for the support it gave to the historic first flights of a planetary rotorcraft,” Bob Balaram, chief engineer Ingenuity at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL ) of NASA in Southern California, said in a statement today.
“No matter where we go from here, we’ll always take with us a reminder of what these two Dayton bike builders meant to us as we chase the first flight to another world,” Balaram said.
Excelsior! The #MarsHelicopter made its first one-way and 5th flight to Mars. It has landed at its new location, entering a new demonstration phase where we test this new technology and see how it can help future missions to Mars and other worlds. https://t.co/TNCdXWcKWE pic.twitter.com/YwxIjupbQIMay 8, 2021
Ingenuity has landed with NASA Perseverance rover inside the 45-kilometer-wide Jezero on February 18. The solar-powered rotorcraft deployed from the rover’s belly on April 3, beginning a flight campaign designed to demonstrate that aerial exploration is possible on Mars.
This campaign was supposed to end after 30 days and a maximum of five flights. But Ingenuity has performed so well and remains so healthy that NASA recently extended its mission.
“Our helicopter is even more rugged than we had hoped,” Josh Ravich, manager of Ingenuity Mechanical Engineering at JPL, wrote in a blog post yesterday (May 6).
“The electrical system that we messed around on for years provides more than enough energy to keep our heaters running at night and flying during the day,” added Ravich. “The standard components of our guidance and navigation systems also work very well, as does our rotor system. You name it, and it is doing very well or better.
Today’s flight takes the small helicopter into a new phase, in which Ingenuity will showcase the ability of rotorcraft to serve as scouts for Martian rovers. The new airfield sits along the planned Perseverance crossing, so the helicopter’s in-flight photos could help the rover team choose the most efficient route and possibly identify targets. interesting rocky places to study.
Keeping the two robots relatively close is also a logistical necessity. Ingenuity, whose body is about the size of a tissue box, cannot speak directly to its masters on Earth; communications to and from the helicopter require persistence.
In addition to serving as a relay station, the rover documented Ingenuity’s historic flights, captured video, and, on flight number four, audio of the rotorcraft in action. But Perseverance will soon begin to focus seriously on its own scientific mission, which is to search for signs of ancient life on Mars and collect and cache dozens of samples for future return to Earth.
“The plan for the future is to fly Ingenuity in a way that does not reduce the tempo of Perseverance science operations,” Balaram said in today’s post-flight statement.
“We might have a few more flights over the next few weeks and then the agency will assess how we are doing,” he added. “We have already been able to put together all of the flight performance data that we originally came here to collect. Now this new operational demonstration gives us the opportunity to further expand our knowledge of flying machines to others. planets. “
Mike Wall is the author of “Over there“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book on the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.