NASA Sends Video: A 161-Second Helicopter Ride on the Land of Mars

Video On Friday, NASA released images of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter flying further and faster than ever before.

The film was recorded during Ingenuity’s 25th flight on April 8 as it flew 704 meters at speeds of up to 5.5 meters per second.

In the time-lapse footage shown below, the vehicle climbs 10 meters, heads southwest, accelerates to top speed in less than three seconds, and flies over Martian sand ripples and rocky fields before landing on relatively flat terrain.

Youtube video

The navigation camera turns off when the rotorcraft is less than one meter from landing to prevent dust from its navigation system.

The flights are engineered by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which sends commands to the Perseverance Mars rover, which in turn relays them to Ingenuity. Ingenuity uses onboard sensors to provide real-time data to its own navigation processor and main flight computer, which then allows it to react in real time.

On April 19, 2021, Ingenuity became the first aircraft to perform powered and controlled flight on another planet. He now has 28 flights under his belt, which means he has completed three flights since the footage was recorded on April 8, but since it takes longer for videos to return from Mars than images or other data, one can understand the delay in taking in information. Public. The Jezero crater that Ingenuity landed in in 2021 is about 314 million miles (505 million kilometers) away.

Perseverance can achieve transmission rates of up to 2 Mb/s to its airborne orbiters, which then relay that data back to Earth at between 500 Kb/s and about 3 Mb/s, depending on the relative position between Mars and Earth.

NASA has been busy this month re-establishing the connection between persistence and ingenuity.

The two spacecraft lost communication May 3-5 due to dust covering the helicopter’s solar panels, which prevented the batteries from recharging. The Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) that manages Ingenuity’s operational state then shut down, as did its heatsinks. When it came back online its clocks had been reset – which is not good for a number of reasons, one being that the FPGA manages the heatsinks that protect the electronics from the freezing temperatures of the Martian night .

NASA heeded a warning about future performance:

JPL’s Ingenuity team leader Teddy Tzanetos wrote an update on Friday promising that Ingenuity’s 29th flight could take place within the next few sols or Martian days, “assuming winter return to service activities nominally terminate”.

Tzanetos also talked about how remarkable it is that this helicopter not only still works, but provides humans with those 161.3 seconds of footage.

“After hundreds of sols and dozens of flights beyond the originally planned five flights, the solar-powered helicopter finds itself in uncharted territory. We are now operating well beyond our original design limits,” said Tzanetos. ®

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