The Jezero river delta campaign won’t be an easy task for the chopper. Unlike the mostly flat surfaces the rotorcraft has been crossing since it first landed on Mars, this time, it will tackle uneven surfaces, cliffs, and areas filled with sand. This will make flight difficult for Ingenuity as it will have to avoid protruding boulders or navigate across hilly terrain. Moreover, it will have to choose the ideal spot for landing.
But that’s not stopping the little helicopter. Recently, Ingenuity has completed Flight 22, the second out of three that will get it across the Séítah region on Mars to the ancient delta river. NASA’s Jet Propulsory Laboratory (JPL) took to Twitter to announce that the rotorcraft spun its blades and lifted off the ground on Sunday, March 20th.
It successfully climbed to a 33-foot (10-meter) altitude and stayed aloft in the thin Martian atmosphere for a total of 101.4 seconds. The team also mentioned that Ingenuity is already getting ready for the next flight, which is expected to take place this week.
Once Ingenuity crosses the Séítah region and arrives at the delta, it will assist Perseverance and work as an aerial scout. From above, it will be able to snap pictures of the landscape and send data to the Perseverance team. That will help the rover identify which path to follow and select which spots need to be explored.
Over the weekend, the #MarsHelicopter took its 22nd flight!???? The trip lasted 101.4 seconds and Ingenuity got up to 10 meters in the air. The team is planning another flight perhaps as early as later this week.????— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) March 22, 2022
See raw images from this flight: https://t.co/rDGwXMRo6S pic.twitter.com/uPPQmZy5ir