NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has flown once more, taking to the Martian skies for the second time in as many weeks.
Ingenuity traveled about 308 ft (94 meters) on Sunday (Sept. 18), staying aloft for greater than 55 seconds and reaching a most velocity of 10.6 mph (17.1 kph), (opens in new tab) (JPL) in Southern California, which manages the Mars helicopter’s mission.
Sunday’s flight was the thirty second for Ingenuity total and its second this month; the 4-pound (1.8 kilograms) rotorcraft additionally lifted off on Sept. 6.
Associated: Mars helicopter Ingenuity: First plane to fly on Purple Planet
That earlier flight took Ingenuity nearer to an historical river delta on the ground of Mars’ Jezero Crater, a 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) gap within the floor that the helicopter and its robotic associate, the Perseverance rover, have been exploring since February 2021. Presumably, Sunday’s sortie continued that progress, as Ingenuity group members have stated that attending to the delta is a near-term precedence.
Perseverance has been finding out the delta for a number of months now. The car-sized rover has collected 4 rock samples from the formation since July, two of them from a stone that is wealthy in natural molecules, the carbon-containing constructing blocks of life.
Researchers will have the ability to examine that intriguing materials intimately right here on Earth, if all goes in accordance with plan: NASA and the European Area Company are teaming as much as convey the rover’s samples to our planet, maybe as early as 2033.
The sample-return structure consists of two Ingenuity-like helicopters able to carrying pattern tubes from a number of depots on Jezero’s ground to the rocket that may launch them off the Purple Planet. (That rocket, and the opposite robots that may assist get the samples to Earth, stay in improvement.) It is unclear in the meanwhile if the choppers will likely be pressed into such service; Perseverance could find yourself delivering the tubes to the rocket by itself.
Ingenuity initially launched into a five-flight demonstration mission designed to point out that rotorcraft flight is feasible within the skinny Martian ambiance. The helicopter rapidly aced that process and shifted into an prolonged mission, throughout which it is serving as a scout for Perseverance.
Mike Wall is the writer of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a e-book concerning the seek for alien life. Comply with him on Twitter (opens in new tab). Comply with us on Twitter (opens in new tab) or on Fb (opens in new tab).