Science

NASA Mars helicopter nails twelfth flight, scouts before for Perseverance rover

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has done the dozen. Not content to simply demonstrate it could fly on Mars, the chopper is currently making itself an important contributor on the red planet, helping the rover Perseverance in its mission to discover indications of old microbial life. Rising 32ft above the surface of Mars on Sunday evening, the chopper finished flight 12 in 169 seconds. Decent!

The chopper flew over a region called “South Seitah,” a region that is home to boulders and rocky outcrops important to the Perseverance rover team. NASA’s JPL called the region a “geological wonder.”

“Flying over Seitah South carries substantial risk because of the varied terrain,” Ingenuity foreman Teddy Tzanetos wrote in a status update prior to the flight on Sunday. The helicopter’s navigation system was intended to work with relatively flat terrain, so appearing well and good out of more unpleasant landscapes can be a challenge. The rotorcraft has run into some technical difficulties, yet survived them all up until this point.

“When we choose to accept the risks associated with such a flight, it is because of the correspondingly high rewards,” Tzanetos said Sunday. “Knowing that we have the opportunity to help the Perseverance team with science planning by providing unique aerial footage is all the motivation needed.”

The dangers of flight 12 were easily managed by Ingenuity, which hasn’t quit delivering record trips since it originally lifted off back on April 20.

Ingenuity’s mission has been about dangers and prizes. It was an unknown whether the helicopter would even work on Mars.

It works, but at the same time is presently showing how an aerial vehicle can go about as a significant scout for a ground-based rover. Flight 12, specifically, ought to demonstrate amazingly significant for the Perseverance team. Exploring ahead and inspecting for possibly hazardous or fascinating territory makes for a significantly more proficient – and safe – rover journey. Simply think about all the additional science that should be possible when you’re not wasting time attempting to figure out what direction you should move your rover!

Perseverance is relied upon to get together with Ingenuity in the coming days and NASA’s researchers will analyze the pictures to figure out which rocks they ought to look at straightaway. Further trips for Ingenuity have not yet been detailed by NASA however its next stay, number 13, will probably concern the superstitious.

Yet, going by its first dozen flights, there doesn’t appear a lot to stress over.

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