Ingenuity Mars helicopter notches thirty third Purple Planet flight

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter has taken flight once more, staying aloft for almost a minute this previous weekend on its thirty third extraterrestrial sortie. 

Ingenuity, which is part of NASA’s life-seeking Perseverance rover mission, took to the skies of Mars on Saturday (Sept. 24), reaching a flight of simply over 55 seconds. The 4-pound (1.8 kilograms) rotorcraft soared roughly 33 ft (10 meters) within the air and moved about 365 ft (111 meters) earlier than alighting in a brand new location, in response to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, which manages the missions of each Ingenuity and Perseverance.

“In case you look intently at this picture, you’ll see Ingenuity’s leg and tiny shadow,” JPL officers mentioned through Twitter on Tuesday (opens in new tab) (Sept. 27).

Ingenuity helps Perseverance discover Jezero Crater, which hosted a lake and a river delta within the historic previous. Later within the 2020s, NASA and the European Area Company collectively plan to launch a sample-return mission to the area, which can use helicopters very like Ingenuity to select up samples gathered by Perseverance and haul them to a rocket for a launch again to Earth.

The workforce has framed the sample-return mission, and Perseverance’s cache of samples, as essential to assist perceive the historical past of the Purple Planet and the potential for all times on Mars.

black and white photo of martian surface with a small helicopter shadow at bottom left

Ingenuity’s shadow is seen on the backside left of this picture throughout its thirty third flight, on Sept. 24, 2022. (Picture credit score: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Perseverance, in the meantime, met some challenges whereas making an attempt to carry out a rock abrasion earlier within the week. A weblog put up (opens in new tab) Wednesday (Sept. 28) from JPL mentioned the rock, nicknamed “Chiniak,” fully broke aside after the Martian floor reacted in an sudden solution to Perseverance’s instruments.

“Whereas we needed to forgo abrasion proximity science on this goal, we gained details about the cohesiveness and power of the rock and had the chance to look at and examine each freshly damaged and weathered rock surfaces,” Eleanor Moreland, a Ph.D. pupil at Rice College, wrote within the put up.

“Due to the fast work of the science and engineers, a brand new goal was chosen for a profitable abrasion simply a few days later,” Moreland added.

Observe Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace (opens in new tab). Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Fb (opens in new tab)

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