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NASA video maps all 72 flights taken by Mars Ingenuity helicopter

See Ingenuity’s Flight Map: 72 Helicopter Flights on Mars

NASA has shared a video (above) that maps all of the flights taken on Mars by its trailblazing Ingenuity helicopter.

Ingenuity became the first aircraft to achieve powered, controlled flight on another planet when its rotors fired up for the first time to carry it above the martian surface in April 2021.

Following that successful test hover, the drone-like machine took a further 71 flights that covered a total distance of 11 miles. The mission ended in January after a heavy landing caused rotor damage that prevented it from flying again.

NASA’s video numbers each of the 72 flights, including the one that saw it spend the longest time in the air (flight 12, 169.5 seconds), the highest one (flight 61, 24 meters, hover only), the fastest ones (flights 62, 68, and 69, 10 meters per second), and the furthest one (flight 69, 705 meters).

“Ingenuity far surpassed expectations, soaring higher and faster than previously imagined,” NASA said in a message accompanying the video. “Designed to be a technology demonstration that would make no more than five test flights in 30 days, Ingenuity eventually flew more than 14 times farther than the distance expected, and logged more than two hours of total flight time.”

The 4-pound, 19-inch-tall helicopter arrived on Mars with Perseverance in a dramatic landing captured in high-definition video. Ingenuity ended up assisting the rover mission by providing aerial imagery that enabled mission specialists on Earth to map the safest and most efficient routes for Perseverance between areas of scientific interest.

Ingenuity’s impressive achievement has paved the way for NASA’s ambitious Dragonfly mission to Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. NASA will deploy a much larger drone — one the size of a small car — to fly between research locations in a mission set to launch in 2028.

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