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NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter Sets New Records on Mars, Aces Flight 25

The little helicopter proved that nothing could stand in its way. Not only it had to cross a rugged region of the Jezero Crater on Mars, but it had to race its rover buddy Perseverance to arrive next to the ancient delta river, which is a spot that could reveal crucial information about the Red Planet’s wet past. During its last flight, NASA’s Ingenuity chopper managed to set new records, flying faster and further than ever.
NASA's Ingenuity helicopter aces Flight 25 on Mars 6 photos
Ingenuity snapped this image of the terrain underneath during Flight 24Ingenuity snapped this image of the terrain underneath during Flight 24Ingenuity snapped this image of the terrain underneath during Flight 24Ingenuity snapped this image of the terrain underneath during Flight 24This image shows three options for Ingenuity to take on flights out of the “Séítah” region, as well as the location of the entry, descent, and landing hardware
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) recently took to Twitter to announce the record-breaking flight. For those of you who lost count, this is Ingenuity’s 25th trip in the thin atmosphere of Mars. Ingenuity landed on the Red Planet last year in February together with the Perseverance rover.

Initially, scientists intended to make the little rotorcraft spin its blades and take to the skies only five times to demonstrate that flight was possible on another planet. But Ingenuity proved that it can not only stay in the air but do so much more. So its mission was extended, and the helicopter got assigned an aerial scouting job.

To date, Ingenuity has covered a 5,824-meter (19,109-ft) distance on Mars, managing to capture stunning images during its journeys. Recently, both the chopper and Perseverance have been heading towards the ancient delta, an unexplored portion in the Jezero Crater that suggests there was once a large river-fed lake.

To get to the delta, Ingenuity had to make several short flights that covered the Séítah region, an area characterized by rocky terrain and dunes. The helicopter had to move fast in order to get next to the delta before the rover.

It also had to maintain a relatively close distance to have a good connection since it “only communicates with the helicopter base station located on Perseverance,” but fly far enough, so the two wouldn’t come into contact.

So during its recent trip, Ingenuity powered through and flew farther and faster than it ever did since it landed on Mars. The rotorcraft traveled for 704 meters (2,310 ft) and flew at a speed of 12.3 mph (19.8 kph). That’s almost 80 meters (262 ft) longer than the previous record of 625-meter (2,051-ft) achieved during Flight 9.



 
 
 
 
 

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