NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter is about to discover a brand new patch of the Purple Planet.
Ingenuity is scheduled to make its fifth Martian flight at the moment (Might 7), a jaunt that shall be in contrast to something the 4-lb. (1.8 kilograms) chopper has tried thus far.
If all goes in response to plan, Ingenuity will elevate off at 3:26 p.m. EDT (1926 GMT), climb to an altitude of 16 ft (5 meters) after which head south for 423 ft (129 m), following the identical path it took every week in the past on the 87-second flight quantity 4.
“However as a substitute of turning round and heading again, we’ll really climb to a brand new top document of 33 ft (10 meters), the place we are able to take some shade (in addition to black-and-white) photos of the world,” Josh Ravich, Ingenuity mechanical engineering lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, wrote in a weblog publish yesterday (Might 6).
“After a complete flight time of about 110 seconds, Ingenuity will land, finishing its first one-way journey,” Ravich added. “When it touches down at its new location, we’ll embark on a brand new demonstration part — one the place we exhibit what this new expertise can do to help different missions down the street.”
Ingenuity landed with NASA’s Perseverance rover inside Mars’ Jezero Crater on Feb. 18 and deployed from the six-wheeled robotic’s stomach six weeks later.
The solar-powered helicopter is a expertise demonstration designed to point out that aerial exploration is feasible on the Purple Planet, and its mission was initially capped at 5 flights over a 30-day span. However NASA just lately prolonged Ingenuity’s operations into a brand new part, throughout which the copter crew will try to showcase the potential of rotorcraft to function scouts for Mars rovers, amongst different issues.
“We’re touring to a brand new base as a result of that is the path Perseverance goes, and if we need to proceed to display what might be achieved from an aerial perspective, we’ve got to go the place the rover goes,” Ravich wrote.
Mike Wall is the writer of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a e book in regards to the seek for alien life. Comply with him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Fb.