NASA: Mars helicopter prepares for first flight of the year

As part of the Mars 2020 mission, in addition to the Rover Perseverance, the Mars helicopter Ingenuity landed on the red planet. Last year the drone made its first flight and many more later. With the start of the year 2022, the flying probe is preparing for another one. the NASA reveals what she’s hoping for from the flight.

NASA’s Mars helicopter will continue to fly in 2022

The goal of the 19th flight is to reach the river delta of the Jezero crater. Ingenuity is intended to support the orbit planning of the Mars rover Perseverance. In this way, the researchers at NASA want to get closer to new scientific discoveries. The flight of the Mars helicopter should take place on Friday, January 7th at the earliest and will bring the probe out of the South Séítah Basin, writes Martin Cacan, Ingenuity pilot at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in a status update the mission.

“The flight is short, but the take-off is challenging because of the sandy terrain the helicopter is currently on. Originally, the area was chosen because of the lack of rocks to allow a safe landing. In fact, however, the area is so scarce that during the landing of Flight 18, warnings were issued due to insufficient features for tracking in the image navigation. The error protection parameters are therefore updated to reduce the risk of an early landing in the middle of a climb. “

Martin Cacan

Why is flight so important?

According to Cacan, Flight 19 is necessary to reach the same area that the team envisaged on the ninth flight. This time it wanted to let the Mars helicopter fly in the opposite direction. The reason for this is that there are no larger landing areas in this part of Séítah. The flight is also slower because the atmospheric density is lower in the summer months.

“With a wingspan of 63 meters (207 feet), this flight will take approximately 100 seconds at a speed of 1 meter per second (2.2 mph) and an altitude of 10 meters (33 feet) with 9 new RTE images being taken become ”, says the NASA pilot. It remains to be seen what discoveries the Mars helicopter will make.

Sources: NASA

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