Seven months after its first epic flight on the Red Planet, NASA Mars The creativity of the helicopter is still going strong, exceeding the expectations of the original mission beyond all belief, much to the delight and excitement of everyone. However, we still can’t get enough of the amazing shots of her travels.
Only five flights of the tiny robot have been planned into the thin atmosphere of Mars, and it has already been flown into the air at least 15 times.
Now, Ingenuity is practically a flying pro, and it’s still thrilling to watch the helicopter flying through the air, performing complex maneuvers in a world completely different from Earth. NASA has just released footage of one of the most challenging flights to date – lucky number 13, which took place on September 4, 2021.
The Persevering Mars rover, Ingenuity’s partner in crime, captured the duration of the entire flight using its Mastcam-Z binocular vision camera system. This not only helps scientists here on Earth study the flight, but it also puts Percy’s instruments in its stride.
“The value of Mastcam-Z really shines through in these videos,” Engineer Justin Mackie NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Even at a distance of 300 metres [328 yards] Far away, we get a great close-up shot of takeoff and landing with the “right eye” of the Mastcam-Z. And while the helicopter is little more than a speck in the wide view taken through the “left eye,” it gives viewers a good sense of the scale of the environment that Ingenuity is exploring.”
The trip took place in the Sitah region of Jezero crater, where the two robotic probes explored the terrain together, collecting data so that scientists here on Earth could study the region’s mineral composition.
The purpose of the trip was to take pictures of the outcrop from multiple angles, from a maximum height of 8 metres. These photos were taken at the request of the Perseverance Science Team, to complement 10 photos taken During the twelfth flight of the helicopter.
After takeoff, which generated puffs of dust, Creativity climbed to its maximum height before immediately turning and tilting to one side for horizontal flight to the vantage point, to the right of the Perseverance’s field of view. After a short time, it turned back to the left and landed a few meters from its take-off point.
“We took off from the crater and flew over a high altitude line before diving into Setah,” Chief Creative Pilots Havard Gripp said from JPL.
“Because the helicopter’s navigation filter favors flat terrain, we programmed a trajectory point near the ridge line, where the helicopter slows down and hovers for a moment. Our flight simulation indicated that this small ‘breath’ would help the helicopter track its path despite significant differences in terrain.” It’s doing the same way back. It’s great to see this actually happen, and it enhances the accuracy of our modeling and our understanding of how to better operate creativity.”
Before making the first flight, it was not clear whether the Creativity would fly at all. Atmospheric conditions on Mars are quite different from those on Earth; More importantly, the density of the atmosphere on Mars is much lower, which means that staying aloft is much more difficult.
At the time of Ingenuity’s thirteenth flight, conditions were growing more challenging, due to seasonal changes that lower atmospheric pressure even more. Since the Ingenuity was not designed to continue its mission beyond a few months, helicopter engineers had to find ways to compensate for this drop in density, by spinning its rotors faster to generate lift.
So far, this has been working, but it puts extra strain on the helicopter’s gear. Engineers continue to run tests and keep a close eye on innovation during flights.
The helicopter was scheduled to make its 16th flight on November 20 at the end of the week. We’ll be waiting eagerly to see how it goes.