A year after the completion of the first powered and controlled flight to another world, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter is still setting records on Mars.
The helicopter has recently reached two new stages: the longest and fastest flights on the Red Planet.
The rotorcraft traveled 704 meters at a speed of 19 km / h during its landmark 25th flight.
This may not win a Grand Prix on Earth, but it is quite impressive on Mars. The atmosphere of the red planet is less than 1% density than ours, and its temperature can drop to minus 130 degrees.
NASA this week shared a black and white movie from the trip, which took place on April 8.
“For our record-breaking flight, Ingenuity’s downward-looking navigation camera gave us a breathtaking sense of what it would be like to glide 33 feet above the surface of Mars at 12 miles per hour,” said Ingenuity team leader Teddy Tsanetos.
You can watch the feat by clicking on the video at the top of this article.
You may notice that the video is shorter than the flight statistics show.
In an obvious nod to our dwindling attention, NASA accelerated 161.3-second flight up about five times – reducing the clip to a short 35 seconds.
The shots start about a second after the flight.
Ingenuity first climbs 10 meters above the Martian surface before accelerating to its maximum speed in less than three seconds.
Heading southwest, the helicopter flies over sand waves, rocky fields and finally flat terrain where it lands.
The whole flight is autonomous. NASA staff planned the route and sent directions to the Perseverance Mars rover, which then passed instructions to Ingenuity.
After take-off, the helicopter relies on on-board sensors to navigate the landscape.
The new records are not Ingenuity’s latest ambitions. After recently losing communication for the first time in the mission, NASA this month restore contact with the drone.
Ingenuity is now preparing for operations during the harsh Martian winter.
At this speed, the brave drone will live long enough to welcome Elon Musk’s hired workers into their hellish life on Mars.