NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has flown faster than ever before on the surface of Mars.
The drone-like flying machine reached a speed of 10 meters per second (22.4 mph) during its 62nd flight to the planet, surpassing its previous speed of 8 m/s (17.9 mph) from two flights late last month. Broke the record. ,
It’s another accomplishment for NASA’s team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, which is overseeing the current Mars mission that also includes the Perseverance rover.
Ingenuity first took to the skies of Mars in April 2021, becoming the first aircraft to perform a powered, controlled flight on another planet. However, that first flight was merely a hover, and since then the 4-pound, 19-inch-long helicopter has made a single flight at a record distance of 2,325 feet (708.9 meters), proving beyond a doubt that it can comfortably Can fly. The atmosphere is much thinner than Earth’s.
Ingenuity’s total flight time across its 62 flights is 113 minutes, covering a total distance of more than 9 miles. Its highest altitude during those flights is 24 meters, enabling it to capture aerial images that have been useful to the Perseverance team as they look for the safest and most efficient routes for the ground-based rover.
The primary objective of current Mars missions is to search for evidence of ancient life. With help from Ingenuity, Perseverance is using its suite of science instruments to collect and store rock and soil samples, which will be collected by a later mission and brought to Earth for more detailed analysis.
It is also gathering data about conditions on the planet to help NASA better prepare for its first manned mission to Mars, which could take place in the 2030s.
The success of Ingenuity’s design means NASA engineers will work on creating more advanced versions of the small helicopter for future missions to Mars and possibly other planets.