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Ingenuity Helicopter Hits Another Record for Its One-Way Flight to New Base

On May 7th, the little helicopter completed its fifth flight, a one-way trip from the Wright Brothers Field region on Mars to a new airfield 423 feet (129 meters) to the south. Ingenuity climbed up to 33 feet (10 meters) and set a new altitude record. This flight is part of the aircraft's transition to its new aerial scouting job.
NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter arrives in a new airfield 1 photo
The one-way journey began at 3:26 p.m. EDT and lasted 108 seconds. Scientists chose the new landing site based on information gathered during its fourth flight, which gave them the opportunity to generate digital elevation maps which showed a flat terrain with almost no obstructions.

Before touching down, the helicopter flew up to 33 feet (10 meters) above its new location and took high-resolution color photographs of its new surroundings. Then, the Red Planet rotorcraft went south to assist future research into the potential use of aerial scouts on Mars.

After successfully landing at its new location, Ingenuity will await further instructions from mission controllers, which will be communicated through Perseverance. The rover will also be instructed to move south toward a region where research operations and sample collection will begin.

The Perseverance team's plan doesn't require long drives that would leave the helicopter far behind, allowing Ingenuity to continue with this new operation demonstration. Its job will reveal how an aircraft can be used on another planet and provide details that can only be observed from an aerial perspective.

Scouting flights, aerial surveillance of areas not accessible to a rover, and detailed imagery from high altitudes will part of the little helicopter's tasks. These missions, along with the new information that they will bring, could aid future exploration of Mars and other worlds. The operations demonstration will start with the sixth flight of the aircraft. After 30 days, NASA will assess flight operations, with complete flight operations expected by the end of August.



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