The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has decided to extend the ongoing mission of the Mars Ingenuity helicopter. The decision has been taken after another successful flight test of Ingenuity. This was the fourth flight test of Ingenuity, the four-pound remote-controlled aircraft. Originally, NASA had planned five test flights of the aircraft. It has traveled around 900 feet at an average speed of 8 miles per hour. Like its previous flight test, Ingenuity flew at a height of 16.5 feet. NASA said that the helicopter when ‘farther and faster’ than ever before. “Success. Ingenuity has completed fourth flight. It took more photos of the Martian surface this time. They will come in a later data downlink,” NASA tweeted.
According to the US space agency, the distance covered by the helicopter is double than what it covered during the third flight. Also speed attained by Ingenuity was double than it attends during the last flight on April 25. NASA was satisfied by the outcomes of the third test. “Flight test of Ingenuity has been a resounding success,” said associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen. “As the helicopter is still in excellent health, NASA plans to use to benefit future aerial platforms.”
This means that the US space agency is extending the mission of Ingenuity. Perseverance rover has been closely monitoring the flight test of the helicopter from distance. The rover will continue to do its other work. It will also restart the investigation landing site of Jezero Crater for signs of past life on the planet. As for Ingenuity, it will conduct the fifth and final flight test as planned originally. Unlike previous flights, it will be a one-way trip. If the helicopter remains functional and technically sound, it will conduct subsequent flights from the new landing site. The new landing site will still be fairly close to where Perseverance is looking for signs of past life.