The Ingenuity helicopter has completed another flight on Mars. This was the eighth flight since its arrival in February. NASA said that the flight was successful. The helicopter flew for 77.4 seconds. It covered a distance of 160 meters to land at a new spot on the Martian surface. The new site is nearly 133 meters from the Perseverance rover. Ingenuity arrived on Mars attached to the belly of Perseverance. The rover landed at the Jezero Crater. NASA’s Ingenuity is the first of its kind instrument to fly on any other planet. NASA is the only space agency to craft powered and controlled flight on another planet. NASA wants to demonstrate the technology through the helicopter as it prepares for a manned mission to the Red Planet. The agency is conducting planned test flights.
Ingenuity was built by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It also manages the helicopter’s technology demonstration project. The helicopter had in May developed a navigational glitch. This was the first problem since its arrival. Ingenuity encountered the problem during its sixth flight since April 19. It even went on an excursion of 20 degrees. But it maintained flight and managed to land safely at the designated site. According to NASA, Ingenuity had developed a glitch in the navigation camera. It reported a loss of an image. The issue was reported in all later navigation images. NASA said that Ingenuity’s sensors indicated a spike in power consumption moments before the landing. The helicopter landed safely because of its certain design features.
Ingenuity is designed to fly from one place to another. The helicopter has so far delivered promising results. It could redefine the approach of scientists towards Mars as they plan a crewed mission to explore Earth’s neighbor. The mini helicopter during its fifth flight completed a one-way trip. NASA said that Ingenuity’s flights are a great achievement. It said that Ingenuity brings both strength and skill to create aircraft to fly on another planet in the future. The agency had earlier released a recording of audio and video of Ingenuity. The helicopter weighs 1.8 kg. NASA said that Ingenuity’s controlled flight adds a new chapter to humans’ efforts to search for life beyond Earth.