NASA's Mars rover, which has been stationed on the Red Planet since February 2021, has captured an amazing video of the Ingenuity helicopter taking flight.
NASA has taken to its blog to provide an update on the recent flight conducted by its Ingenuity helicopter, and according to the space agency, the Mars helicopter has now successfully carried out its 47th flight, achieving a maximum altitude of 39 feet, a top speed of 11.9 mph and 1,444 feet traveled. The flight was captured by NASA's Perseverance rover, which was positioned 394 feet away from the helicopter. As shown by the above video, Perseverance captured Ingenuity taking off, causing a small martian dust cloud to form from its spinning rotors.
Notably, Perseverance captured this footage with its Mastcam-Z imager on March 9, 2023, and according to NASA, the goal of the flight was to reposition the helicopter while also scouting ahead for any viable scientific prospects that Perseverance would then further inspect. For those that don't know, NASA originally sent Ingenuity to Mars with one objective in mind - to see if it was possible to conduct one flight on the surface of the Red Planet. Ingenuity is a technology demonstration that has superseded expectations, with reports stating the helicopter remains in good health on its road to reaching its 50th flight.
NASA details on the Perseverance rover dedicated Twitter account that the rover and helicopter have been for the past week slowly climbing the northwest slows of Belva, a smaller crater within the larger Jezero Crater, the region of Mars Perseverance and Ingenuity have been exploring since they touched down on the Red Planet.
Not only is Ingenuity serving as a valuable forward scout for Perseverance, its continuous flights beyond expectation are also providing valuable information to NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), which will be used for the recently devised backup plan to save the Martian samples collected by the rover - in the event it can't reach the waiting spacecraft expected to touch down in 2033.
Based on the success of Ingenuity, the space agencies plan to send two upgraded Ingenuity-like helicopters to assist Perseverance in getting the samples to the spacecraft, which will then begin the transportation process and the long journey back to Earth.
In other news, the International Space Station (ISS) was forced to conduct an evasive maneuver to dodge an object that was at risk of colliding with the floating laboratory. If you are interested in reading more about that story, check out the link below.