Ingenuity, NASA's Mars Helicopter, has flown its first mile on the planet during the weekend after completing its 10th flight overall.
The helicopter went over the one-mile mark during its 10th flight, which saw the Ingenuity flying over a region on Mars known as the Raised Ridges. Its 10th flight is also considered as the Mars helicopter's highest flight yet.
Ingenuity Surpasses One-Mile Mark
Ingenuity, NASA's Mars Helicopter, made a "new aerial record" when it surpassed the one-mile mark, according to the Instagram post of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
"With the Mars Helicopter's flight success today, we crossed its one-mile total distance flown to date," the post reads.
According to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Instagram post, Ingenuity's 10th flight lasted around 165.4 seconds. The Mars helicopter flew at a record height of 40 feet.
The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory describes this flight as the Ingenuity's "most complex flight profile yet" due to the fact that it had 10 distinct waypoints.
Ingenuity then parked on its seventh airfield after the completion of its 10th flight, which is located around 310 feet west of the Mars Helicopter's takeoff point. The Mars Helicopter's first flight was completed last April.
Mars' Raised Ridges
According to Space, the Ingenuity "was expected to snap a series of images, including ones that could help scientists create stereo images of the Raised Ridges rocks."
Raised Ridges got its name due to its geographical features. It has become a point of interest for scientists who want to send the Perseverance rover to the area and further study it.
According to Teddy Tzanetos, the Ingenuity's operations lead, the Raised Ridges is "an area that Perseverance [rover] scientists find intriguing and are considering visiting sometime in the future."
What is Ingenuity, NASA's Mars Helicopter
The Ingenuity is a small robotic helicopter that is part of NASA's Mars 2020 mission. According to NASA, it is a "technology demonstration to test the first powered flight on Mars." The Ingenuity is powered by solar-charged batteries.
The Ingenuity was launched on July 30, 2020, and was attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover during its trip to Mars. It landed on the Jezero Crater of the Red Planet on February 18, 2021.
According to the report by Space, the Ingenuity is the "first vehicle to ever attempt powered flight on another world." The Mars Helicopter was initially only expected to fly only four flights.
After completing its primary mission in April, NASA eventually decided to extend the Ingenuity's operations. The robotic helicopter is now being used as reconnaissance and is tasked with looking for interesting spots that the Perseverance rover can visit.
The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter completed its ninth flight early this month.
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Written by Isabella James