After weeks of Earthlings fawning over Venus and the Perseverance rover stepping out of its shell to start its scientific mission, one can think about the Mars helicopter Ingenuity felt a little bit miffed that the highlight has moved on. However on Tuesday morning, NASA introduced that the helicopter had accomplished its eighth flight, placing the helicopter again within the mixture of area exploration dialog.
Ingenuity flew for 77.four seconds, touring about 525 ft to a brand new touchdown spot some 438 ft from the Perseverance rover, NASA introduced in a tweet. (These
days sols, like a canine on a leash, Ingenuity should sustain with Perseverance because the rover embarks on its main mission, in search of indicators of historic life in Jezero Crater.) These numbers are akin to earlier flights: Fgentle eight was barely longer in distance and period than flight seven, however shy of the numbers achieved in flight six. That’s as a result of these record-setting flights have been a part of Ingenuity’s preliminary scouting regime, when the helicopter wasn’t enjoying second fiddle to the rover.
The primary 4 Martian flights caught to Wright Brothers Subject, the place the helicopter was initially offloaded by Perseverance and acquired its wings. With time to spare earlier than Perseverance was scheduled to begin its scientific goals, Ingenuity entered its Martian scout section, an improve from its preliminary function as a mere expertise demonstration.
The helicopter’s current flights have been staggered about two weeks aside, a departure from its beforehand frenzied schedule, the place it managed 4 flights in 11 days.
Ingenuity will proceed to flit across the neighborhood of Perseverance whereas the rover does its factor. Right here’s hoping NASA continues to push the copter’s limits, even it if leads to a project-ending crunch.
Extra: NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter Nails Its Seventh Flight on Mars