Mars helicopter to push the limits on its fourth flight
April 29, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 49.8%. 2 min read.
The Ingenuity helicopter has met all of its objectives on Mars. It will fly even further, faster and longer than before over intriguing Martian terrain on Thursday.
The 4-pound chopper will attempt its fourth flight on the red planet on Thursday at 10:12 a. m. ET, or 12:30 p. m. local Mars time.
"From millions of miles away, Ingenuity checked all the technical boxes we had at NASA about the possibility of powered, controlled flight at the Red Planet," said Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, in a statement.
The data from its experimental flights on Mars this month could inform the design of other rotorcraft to fly on Mars and other planets that can act as scouts for rovers and astronauts alike.
The three main objectives for Ingenuity involved flying through the thin Martian atmosphere; demonstrating powered, controlled flight on another planet; and pushing the capabilities Ingenuity showed during testing on Earth.
"When Ingenuity's landing legs touched down after that third flight, we knew we had accumulated more than enough data to help engineers design future generations of Mars helicopters," said J.
According to the fourth flight plan, Ingenuity will ascend to its usual altitude of 16 feet (5 meters) and then fly south for 276 feet (84 meters).
"To achieve the distance necessary for this scouting flight, we're going to break our own Mars records set during flight three," said Johnny Lam, backup pilot for the Ingenuity Mars helicopter at JPL, in a statement.
The Perseverance rover also will be poised to capture images and video of Ingenuity's flight.
Once data and images are returned from the fourth flight, the mission team will determine their plan for the helicopter's fifth outing.
Those plans for the remaining flight campaign will be discussed during a virtual briefing hosted by NASA on Friday at 12:30 p. m. ET.