Mars Ingenuity helicopter completes its toughest flight yet

Mars Ingenuity helicopter completes its toughest flight yet

Posted: Jul 7, 2021 11:40 AM
Updated: Jul 7, 2021 11:40 AM

Ingenuity, the helicopter that accompanied the Perseverance rover on its Mars mission, has undertaken its ninth and "most nerve-wracking" flight since it first took off on the red planet.

Although we don't have the full details about what it accomplished, NASA confirmed in a tweet on July 5 that Ingenuity had completed the flight.

The tiny chopper was airborne for 166.4 seconds -- 2.8 minutes -- and flew at a speed of 5 meters (16 feet) per second, according to the tweet.

In a statement released before the flight, NASA revealed the helicopter would attempt to fly higher, faster and farther than ever before, flying 625 meters (2,051 feet) at 5 meters (16 feet) per second and remaining airborne for approximately 167 seconds.

This latest expedition took the helicopter away from Perseverance and over the Séítah region of Mars, an area characterized by sandy ripples that is very challenging terrain for rovers, according to the pre-flight statement.

The journey over unfriendly terrain was expected to challenge Ingenuity's navigation algorithm in a fundamentally new way.

"This onboard algorithm which lets Ingenuity determine where it is along the flight path, was designed for a comparatively simple technology demonstration over flat terrain and does not have the design features to accommodate high slopes and undulations that are to be found in Séítah," according to Håvard Grip, chief pilot and Bob Balaram, chief engineer for the Mars Helicopter Project at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The undulations could cause Ingenuity to oscillate, they said. Other potential challenges included abrupt changes in the slope paths that could cause problems in finding the landing site, because Ingenuity's camera assumes the ground is flat.

"There is the distinct possibility that the cumulative effect of this is a large lateral error at the destination landing site, with delivery errors of many tens of feet (or meters)," Grip and Balaram said in the pre-flight statement. "It is possible that we will end up landing on a more treacherous, higher-relief surface than the relatively benign, sandy patches we have been able to pick so far.

"It is safe to say that it will be the most nerve-wracking flight since Flight 1."

Ingenuity was expected to take color aerial images of the rocks and ripples it passed over during the flight, which would help the rover science team, according to NASA.

Perseverance landed on Mars on February 18 along with fellow traveler, Ingenuity, which completed the first powered, controlled flight on another planet on April 19.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1101185

Reported Deaths: 17557
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1441632231
Lake715041238
Allen65802880
Hamilton50322484
St. Joseph48966643
Elkhart39621543
Vanderburgh34317495
Tippecanoe30336273
Johnson27293465
Hendricks25947380
Porter25171386
Madison20749447
Clark19985277
Vigo18838308
LaPorte16924261
Delaware16480297
Howard16432311
Monroe16415219
Kosciusko13976165
Hancock12899185
Bartholomew12729189
Warrick12051190
Wayne11921267
Floyd11901226
Grant11755240
Morgan10276190
Boone9706121
Noble9094122
Henry9040165
Marshall8932147
Dearborn8866100
Dubois8751139
Shelby8101129
Cass8055127
Lawrence7939184
DeKalb7638107
Jackson752693
Huntington7475110
Gibson7019118
Montgomery6930123
Harrison688298
Knox6855115
Steuben655787
Miami6497109
Whitley644860
Putnam635583
Clinton619877
Wabash6080109
Jasper604992
Jefferson5710103
Ripley550292
Adams533781
Daviess5020117
Scott482880
Wells4733101
White470368
Greene463899
Clay459762
Decatur4548110
Jennings441766
Fayette438494
LaGrange421290
Posey404044
Washington385455
Randolph3834107
Fountain368762
Spencer357347
Fulton356872
Starke349073
Owen347577
Sullivan345754
Orange325571
Jay321950
Rush299632
Carroll290238
Franklin287144
Perry285153
Vermillion281158
Tipton248265
Parke247030
Pike245044
Blackford218744
Pulaski206458
Newton179752
Brown174050
Crawford168129
Benton163917
Martin151719
Switzerland145612
Warren132316
Union118316
Ohio91813
Unassigned0587

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1690217

Reported Deaths: 26587
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1772171827
Cuyahoga1648472640
Hamilton1125391528
Montgomery796451395
Summit705111199
Lucas620241020
Butler56096805
Stark527941171
Lorain41276642
Warren35509412
Mahoning35270771
Lake31622495
Clermont30804363
Delaware26791182
Trumbull26782616
Licking26297336
Medina25419351
Fairfield24256287
Greene24097372
Clark21748387
Portage20807281
Richland20686340
Wood19745246
Allen18638320
Miami17074348
Columbiana16571332
Muskingum16483206
Wayne15482306
Tuscarawas14158360
Marion13116194
Erie12479198
Ashtabula12417232
Scioto12288184
Pickaway12114153
Ross11526225
Hancock11321173
Geauga10726175
Lawrence10531172
Belmont10304234
Huron9633158
Jefferson9504227
Union944075
Sandusky9106166
Seneca8752157
Knox8663170
Washington8632158
Athens828996
Darke8288180
Ashland7873149
Auglaize7794117
Shelby7369133
Defiance7243115
Crawford7129150
Brown7072115
Fulton7058112
Logan6899108
Guernsey684284
Mercer683998
Highland6659119
Madison643889
Clinton6422106
Williams635899
Preble6194140
Putnam6126120
Jackson574096
Champaign570687
Perry561179
Coshocton5576104
Ottawa555499
Morrow509364
Fayette485370
Hardin480699
Gallia465478
Pike460176
Van Wert458993
Adams4531109
Henry426978
Hocking403093
Holmes3947140
Wyandot369373
Carroll354478
Paulding320551
Meigs303459
Monroe233661
Noble218047
Morgan212138
Harrison206953
Vinton184337
Unassigned06
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 40°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 41°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 41°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 40°
Van Wert
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 42°
The warming trend is expected to continue through Thursday, before cooler air returns to the Midwest for the weekend.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events