NASA Video Shows Ingenuity Mars Helicopter on Unprecedented Bold Flight
NASA has released dramatic images of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter completing its record 25th flight, where the helicopter covered a distance of 704 meters at a speed of 5.5 meters per second, marking the longest and fastest helicopter flight to date. The video was taken on April 8 during the flight, but the space agency only released it on May 27.
Ingenuity is a small solar-powered helicopter that touched down on the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021, along with the Perseverance Rover. It completed the world’s first powered extraterrestrial flight on April 19 when it took off, hovered and landed during a 39.1-second flight.
For our unprecedented flight, Ingenuity’s downward-facing navigation camera gave us an impressive sense of what it would feel like to glide 33 feet above the surface of Mars at 12 miles per hour,” said Ingenuity team leader , Teddy Tzanetos, of the NASA Jet. Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, in a press release.
The video clip begins approximately one second after the flight. The helicopter reaches an altitude of 10 meters and heads southwest, accelerating to its maximum speed in less than three seconds. He first flew over a group of sand waves and some rock fields. Towards the end, flat, featureless terrain appears, providing a good landing spot for Ingenuity. The approximately 162-second-long flight footage was sped up about five times, reducing the length of the video to less than 35 seconds.
The rotorcraft’s navigation camera has been programmed to deactivate whenever the rotorcraft is within 1 meter of the surface. This is to ensure that dust kicked up during takeoff and landing does not interfere with the navigation system as it tracks geographic features on the ground.
Earlier this month, NASA had announced that it had momentarily lost contact with the helicopter after it entered a low-power state. He later got back in touch after getting adequate power from his solar panel; helping it charge its six lithium-ion batteries.