Ingenuity originally planned to operate for 30 days on Mars to demonstrate NASA technology and see if powered flight could be carried out on Mars. After its fifth flight scheduled for next week, Ingenuity plans to retire.
However, after the first three flights were successful, NASA decided to extend the helicopter’s mission for 30 Mars days to test its other capabilities.
“For Ingenuity to now enter a new operational demonstration phase, our team is very excited and proud,” said Project Manager Ingenuity at NASA’s MiMi Aung Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“It’s like Ingenuity passed from a trial demo phase to, now, a new demo phase, where we can showcase how helicopters can be used,” he continued.
Every Ingenuity to take off, the Perseverance rover had to keep an eye on him at close range. This rover robot captures photos and videos during Ingenuity’s air as well as mediating communications between helicopters and controls on Earth.
Therefore Ingenuity’s initial mission is scheduled to stop after 30 days and five flights so that Perseverance can continue its scientific mission on the surface of Mars.
But NASA assessed Ingenuity’s performance as very satisfying and according to them the helicopter mission could be continued without disrupting Perseverance’s objectives.
Perseverance will maintain a greater distance from Ingenuity during the new flight phase, but according to the NASA team the two will still be able to communicate well. In addition, Perseverance will not document Ingenuity’s flights on future missions.
The next test phase that Ingenuity will undertake will be even more ambitious than its previous flights. This helicopter will observe specific science targets on Mars, looking for interesting locations for Perseverance and looking for new flying zones for the next flight.
Ingenuity managed to make its fourth flight on Friday morning (30/4) United States time after being delayed for a day due to technical problems. This helicopter managed to fly farther and faster, while looking for a new flying zone to be used for further trials.
The fifth flight will take place in the next week and will be a one -way trip to the new flying zone.
Watch Video “Ingenuity Moments Hovering Premiere on Planet Mars“