NASA Mars helicopter ingenuity will take off again this weekend if all goes according to plan.
Ingenuity handlers cook £ 4. (1.8 kg) helicopter for its seventh Martian flight, which will take place no earlier than Sunday (June 6). The plan is to send Ingenuity to a new airfield, about 350 feet (105 meters) south of its current floor location. Jezero crater…
“This will be the second time a helicopter will land at an airfield that it did not observe from the air on its previous flight,” NASA officials wrote in an update on Friday (June 4). “Instead, the ingenuity team relies on images collected by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which suggests this new base of operations is relatively flat and has few surface obstructions.”
The flight data will be sent home to Earth within three days of the flight, they added.
Video: Get a view of Mars from the fourth Ingenuity helicopter flight.
Ingenuity also flew to an uncharted airfield on its sixth flight, which took place on 22 May and was not 100% smooth. The solar-powered rotorcraft experienced a malfunction that briefly interrupted the transmission of photos from the navigation camera to the on-board computer. But ingenuity succeeded strength through anomalylanding safely near the designated touchdown point.
Ingenuity has landed with NASA Persistence all-terrain vehicle inside the Jezero is 28 miles (45 kilometers) wide on 18 February. On April 3, the helicopter took off from the womb of Perseverance, embarking on a month-long mission to demonstrate that Mars is possible.
Ingenuity fulfilled this initial mission with five flights that gradually became more challenging and ambitious. NASA then granted a mission extension for a helicopter that focuses on demonstrating the reconnaissance potential of Martian rotorcraft. The flight scheduled for Sunday will be the second in this new campaign.
Perseverance documented Ingenuity’s first five flights in detail, recording video and audio recordings of the historic flights. But now the rover has begun to focus on its scientific mission, which includes finding traces of the ancients. Mars life and collecting samples for future return to Earth, so taking pictures of ingenuity in action will be more difficult these days.
Mike Wall is the author of “There“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the quest for alien life. Follow it on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.