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The Mars Ingenuity helicopter is ready for a riskier flight

April 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 59%. 1 min read.

The Ingenuity helicopter is making a second flight attempt on Mars Thursday, and it's even more challenging than the first. Ingenuity will attempt a longer, higher-climbing flight, including an angled and sideways trek.

(CNN)The Ingenuity helicopter is making a second flight attempt on Mars Thursday, and it's even more challenging than the first.

Ingenuity had a "flawless" first flight on Monday lasting about 40 seconds where it lifted up 10 feet (3 meters) in the air, hovered, made a turn and safely landed.

Now, the NASA helicopter team wants to push Ingenuity to do more.

Ingenuity will autonomously attempt a 50-second flight this time, climbing 16 feet (4. 9 meters) up through the Martian atmosphere.

Ingenuity only collected black-and-white images with its navigation camera during the first flight.

Commands for the flight were sent Wednesday night to the Perseverance rover, which acts as a communication station between the helicopter and its team on Earth.

Unlike the first flight, this data stream will not be available live on NASA's website, but the helicopter team will share the results and any images or videos once they have them.

Perseverance will train its cameras on the helicopter from 210 feet (64 meters) away at the Van Zyl Overlook, and the team is expecting "more phenomenal imagery" from the rover of the second flight test.

"Every image we get of the helicopter on Mars is special to me: After all, this has never been done before," wrote MiMi Aung, the Ingenuity Mars helicopter project manager at JPL, in her helicopter update.

But the black-and-white image of the helicopter's shadow on the surface of Mars, captured during the first flight, is the one that will stay with her most, Aung wrote.

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