NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity retains giving us nice hen’s-eye views of otherworldly terrain.
Final Monday (Aug. 16), the 4-pound (1.8 kilograms) chopper aced its 12th flight on the Red Planet, a sortie designed to scout out the “South Séítah” area of Jezero Crater for NASA’s Perseverance rover.
Perseverance’s essential duties are trying to find indicators of historical Mars life and gathering samples for future return to Earth. The car-sized rover failed in its first sample-collecting try earlier this month, nevertheless, thwarted by unexpectedly powdery Red Planet rock.
Perseverance is now heading towards the geologically intriguing South Séítah space, the place the mission crew hopes and expects to search out rocks higher fitted to the rover’s sampling setup. Ingenuity’s observations are serving to the rover crew plan Perseverance’s path to South Séítah and its actions within the space.
South Séítah is various and rugged, as proven by the imagery Ingenuity collected throughout its 169-second-long flight on Aug. 16. The footage reveals the helicopter hovering over rippling sand dunes and jutting boulders, its insectlike shadow passing ghostlike over hazards the Perseverance crew goals to keep away from.
Ingenuity cruised at an altitude of 33 ft (10 meters) and coated a complete of 1,476 ft (450 m) of horizontal distance on the jaunt, in accordance with the flight log maintained by the helicopter crew. Although most of Ingenuity’s different flights have been one-way journeys, this newest one was a loop, with the little copter taking off from and touchdown on the identical airfield.
Ingenuity is a know-how demonstrator designed to point out that aerial exploration is feasible on Mars. The helicopter was initially tasked with performing as much as 5 flights throughout a one-month marketing campaign, but it surely has carried out so nicely that NASA granted an prolonged mission centered on showcasing the scouting potential of Martian helicopters.
Mike Wall is the writer of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a guide in regards to the seek for alien life. Comply with him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Fb.