Mars helicopter Ingenuity flies low and gradual on fortunate flight 13

Ingenuity flew for the thirteenth time on Sept. 4, 2021 on Mars.  (Picture credit score: NASA)

Quantity 13 was good luck for NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity, because the tenacious little craft seamlessly accomplished its thirteenth flight on the Crimson Planet on Saturday (Sept. 4). 

Ingenuity, or “Ginny” because it’s nicknamed, landed on Mars Feb. 18 tucked inside  NASA’s Perseverance rover. The 4-pound (1.8 kilograms) chopper has  flown for much longer and farther than mission group members initially anticipated, now with 13 flights underneath its belt when it was initially slated to make only a few brief technology-demonstrating sorties. 

“Blissful Flight the thirteenth!” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, which manages Ingenuity’s mission, tweeted Saturday in regards to the craft’s newest profitable Martian journey. 

Associated: Watch NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter discover Mars’ intriguing Raised Ridges

Throughout Ingenuity’s thirteenth flight, the helicopter, which measures simply 19 inches (48 centimeters) tall, traveled at7.3 mph (3.3 m/s), slower than the ten mph (4.3 m/s) velocity it maintained on Flight 12. On Saturday’s flight, Ingenuity captured “photos pointing southwest of the South Seítah area. This aerial scouting continues to help in planning @NASAPersevere’s subsequent strikes,” JPL officers stated in the identical tweet. 

Blissful Flight the thirteenth!🚁Ingenuity has achieved its thirteenth profitable flight on Mars. It traveled at 7.3 mph (3.3 m/s) taking photos pointing southwest of the South Seítah area. This aerial scouting continues to help in planning @NASAPersevere’s subsequent strikes. 5, 2021

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Throughout this flight, Ingenuity additionally flew at a decrease altitude than throughout its twelfth flight, which additionally came about in the identical area. On Saturday, the craft flew simply 26 ft (8 meters) above the Martian floor , in accordance with a flight plan printed Sept. 3 forward of the occasion. On its twelfth flight, Ingenuity cruised about 33 ft (10 m) above the Martian floor. 

Saturday’s sortie marked the second time that Ingenuity explored the South Seítah area, which has a variable terrain that Ingenuity group members have beforehand described as carrying “substantial threat” whereas being “geologically intriguing.”

Nonetheless, regardless of the challenges of the area’s terrain, the flight appears to have gone off and not using a hitch. 

The plan for Flight 13 concerned scoping out South Seítah additional, “to scout an space of outcrops glimpsed in Flight 12 imagery — however we’re taking these new photos whereas wanting again, pointing in the wrong way,” Teddy Tzanetos, Ingenuity Crew Lead at JPL, wrote within the flight plan. 

On Flight 12, the helicopter explored the area and took photos of ridgelines and outcrops. On Flight 13, the group deliberate for the craft to as a substitute focus on one particular ridgeline and outcrop, Tzanetos added. 

“One other large distinction is which means our camera shall be pointing. For Flight 13, we’ll be capturing photos pointing southwest. And after they’re mixed with Flight 12’s northeast views, the overlapping photos from a decrease altitude ought to present worthwhile perception for Perseverance scientists and rover drive planners,” Tzanetos stated. 

In additional evaluating this flight to its predecessor, “it once more reinforces simply how a lot we’re concentrating our efforts in a single small space,” Tzanetos stated. “On Flight 12 we lined 1,476 ft (450 meters) of Martian floor in 169.5 seconds and took 10 photos (once more — all pointed northeast). On 13, we’ll cowl about 690 ft (210 meters) in round 161 seconds and take 10 photos (pointing southwest).”

E mail Chelsea Gohd at or observe her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.

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