Mars helicopter achieves fastest, furthest flight yet – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) – The Ingenuity helicopter successfully flew on Mars for the third time in a week. This time, according to NASA, the helicopter recorded a flight that was faster, further and bolder than the previous ones.

Data and images streamed into the control room of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California at 10:16 a.m. ET on Sunday. The Perseverance rover took a picture of the helicopter in flight and shared it shortly afterwards.

The helicopter rose to the same altitude from its second flight – about 5 meters above the Martian surface – but this time it increased its speed.

On previous flights, Ingenuity moved at a speed of about 0.5 meters per second. Now the helicopter has increased that speed to 2 meters per second (4.5 miles per hour) according to the schedule for Sunday’s flight.

The flight plan also included Ingenuity, which flew 50 meters north before returning to touch down at its landing site. In total, the helicopter should fly for about 80 seconds, the longest so far and a total distance of about 100 meters.

“While that number doesn’t seem like much, remember that we never moved more than two pencil lengths sideways during the flight test in the vacuum chamber here on Earth,” wrote Håvard Grip, chief pilot of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter at JPL. in an update.

“And although the 4 meter sideways movement in flight 2 (2 meters out and then 2 meters back) was great and provided a lot of excellent data, it was still only 4 meters. So Flight Three is a big step where Ingenuity begins to experience freedom in the sky. “

During its second flight on April 22, Ingenuity flew autonomously for almost 52 seconds and climbed 4.9 meters through the Martian atmosphere. After a brief hover, it tilted at a 5 degree angle and moved 7 feet (2.1 meters) sideways. Before Ingenuity landed safely on the surface again, it floated again so that its color camera could capture what it looks like to fly on Mars.

Ingenuity, a technology demonstration, has a week to complete two more flights before the 31-day mission comes to an end.

“Although we conduct our flight tests in a weak atmosphere over 290 million kilometers from Earth, we model our methodological approach to experimental flight using the Wright brothers’ approach,” wrote Grip. “Our plan from day one was to prepare like crazy, fly, analyze the data (like crazy), and then plan an even bolder test for the next flight.”

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