Watch NASA’s Mars Helicopter Perform Record Flight | Engadget


NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter is still pushing the envelope long after its first takeoff on Mars. As CBS notes, the space agency shared video of Ingenuity’s 25th flight on April 8, when it broke records for duration and speed. The robotic helicopter flew at 12mph for just over two minutes and 41 seconds, providing images of the red planet’s rolling sands and rocky fields as part of the 2,310ft journey. The footage you see below has been sped up to reduce viewing time to 35 seconds.

The video doesn’t include the start and end of the trip, but for good reason. The navigation camera turns off whenever Ingenuity is within one meter of the Martian surface to prevent dust from interfering with the navigation system. The autonomous pilot receives flight plans from JPL, but uses a combination of the camera, laser range finder and inertial measurement unit to adapt to real-world conditions.

Ingenuity has flown three times since. It is currently preparing for a 29th flight following a brief alert in early May when the mission team lost communication after the helicopter went into a low power state. NASA isn’t easily deterred, so – expect the plane to keep flying for a while.

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