Mars helicopter Ingenuity flies low and gradual on lucky flight 13

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

Amount 13 was good luck for NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity, as a result of the tenacious little craft seamlessly achieved its thirteenth flight on the Crimson Planet on Saturday (Sept. 4). 

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

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

Related: Watch NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter uncover Mars’ intriguing Raised Ridges

All through Ingenuity’s thirteenth flight, the helicopter, which measures merely 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 “pictures pointing southwest of the South Seítah space. This aerial scouting continues to assist in planning @NASAPersevere’s subsequent strikes,” JPL officers acknowledged within the equivalent tweet. 

Blissful Flight the thirteenth!🚁Ingenuity has achieved its thirteenth worthwhile flight on Mars. It traveled at 7.3 mph (3.3 m/s) taking pictures pointing southwest of the South Seítah space. This aerial scouting continues to assist in planning @NASAPersevere’s subsequent strikes. https://t.co/tboEcnLvx3 pic.twitter.com/QIp8QSVxbqSeptember 5, 2021

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All through this flight, Ingenuity moreover flew at a lower altitude than all through its twelfth flight, which moreover took place within the equivalent space. On Saturday, the craft flew merely 26 ft (8 meters) above the Martian ground , in accordance with a flight plan printed Sept. 3 ahead of the event. On its twelfth flight, Ingenuity cruised about 33 ft (10 m) above the Martian ground. 

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

Nonetheless, whatever the challenges of the realm’s terrain, the flight seems to have gone off and never utilizing a hitch. 

The plan for Flight 13 involved scoping out South Seítah further, “to scout an house of outcrops glimpsed in Flight 12 imagery — nevertheless we’re taking these new pictures whereas wanting once more, pointing within the fallacious approach,” Teddy Tzanetos, Ingenuity Crew Lead at JPL, wrote inside the flight plan. 

On Flight 12, the helicopter explored the realm and took pictures of ridgelines and outcrops. On Flight 13, the group deliberate for the craft to in its place concentrate on one specific ridgeline and outcrop, Tzanetos added. 

“One different giant distinction is which suggests our camera shall be pointing. For Flight 13, we’ll be capturing pictures pointing southwest. And after they’re combined with Flight 12’s northeast views, the overlapping pictures from a lower altitude should current worthwhile notion for Perseverance scientists and rover drive planners,” Tzanetos acknowledged. 

In further evaluating this flight to its predecessor, “it as soon as extra reinforces merely how rather a lot we’re concentrating our efforts in a single small house,” Tzanetos acknowledged. “On Flight 12 we lined 1,476 ft (450 meters) of Martian ground in 169.5 seconds and took 10 pictures (as soon as extra — all pointed northeast). On 13, we’ll cowl about 690 ft (210 meters) in spherical 161 seconds and take 10 pictures (pointing southwest).”

E mail Chelsea Gohd at cgohd@space.com or observe her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Adjust to us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.

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