Ingenuity recently completed its 13th flight on Mars. Mars helicopter campaign extended from the initially planned 5 flights and is now serving as a valuable tool to assist with route planning for the Perseverance rover.
Ingenuity has completed 4 flights since we last covered the helicopter.
For flight 10, Ingenuity traveled to 10 distinct waypoints at 40 feet high. During the flight, it traveled sideways to gather stereo images of the Jezero Crater. For flight 11, the primary goal was to move the helicopter in position ahead of the Perseverance rover to allow it to scout ahead for a good path. Flight 12 of Ingenuity was a risky one. The helicopter flew over very rough terrain that poses potential risks to its navigation system. Ingenuity took photos of South Seitah to determine what locations would be worth exploration by Perseverance rover.
13th flight of Ingenuity
Flight 13 of Ingenuity was built off of information gained from the 12th flight. The helicopter flew at a lower altitude to an area the helicopter just got a glimpse of during flight 12. They will point the camera in a different direction, to gather a new perspective of the area. It will allow scientists on the Perseverance team to better plan the future drive.
Being a lower altitude, this will help provide more depth and height information. Flight 13 will not be as far or as fast as flight 12, but these images should help provide some of the most valuable data from Ingenuity yet.
Earlier this year when Ingenuity made its first flight in the Marian atmosphere the world was amazed by this technological achievement. Now, about 4 months since that historic moment, these flights have become routine. Similar to how we have become accustomed to a rover traversing kilometers over the red planet, so have we now to the flights of NASA’s newest tool for exploration.