NASA's Mars helicopter soars past 1-mile mark in 10th flight over Red Planet

NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity flew its first mile on Mars. On Saturday, July 24, the small chopper crossed the 1-mile (1.6km) mark in its total flight distance. It was flying over the "Raised Ridges" rocky area at Jezero Crater's home. This was Ingenuity's 10th highest flight. It arrived on Mars in February with NASA's Perseverance Rover. Ingenuity flew its first flight in April. Officials from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, wrote late Saturday in an Instagram update, "With the Mars Helicopter’s flight success today," JPL houses the mission control for Perseverance, Ingenuity. Video: Watch Ingenuity's 10th highest flight to Mars Ingenuity, NASA's Mars helicopter, sees its shadow on Mars during its 10th flight on July 24, 2021. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) Flight 10 was Ingenuity's most difficult flight. There were 10 waypoints that the helicopter could hit while it flew above its "Raised Ridges target". The helicopter flew approximately 310 feet (95m) at its maximum altitude, which was a new record. The entire flight took 165.4 seconds, from takeoff to landing. This is just under three minutes. Ingenuity was to take a number of images during the flight. These images could be used by scientists to create stereo images of Raised Ridges rocks. These ridges are where scientists plan to send the Perseverance Rover. "We will image Raised Ridges because it is an area that Perseverance researchers find fascinating and are considering visiting sometime soon," JPL mission managers stated in a July 23 status report. This annotated photo of Mars Jezero Crater shows the ground track and waypoints to Ingenuity's tenth flight, July 24, 2021. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona) Ingenuity has now been parked at its seventh Mars airfield, while mission scientists review telemetry and images. The Ingenuity helicopter was originally designed to fly four Mars flights. It is the first powered flight vehicle to attempt powered flight on another planet. The 4-lb. The 4-lb. (1.8 kg) chopper arrived on Mars in a folded state. It was originally expected to fly four flights over 30 Martian day (called sols), as a proof-of-concept. NASA extended its operations after the solar-powered helicopter successfully completed its first mission in April. Ingenuity will be used to perform reconnaissance and find interesting places for NASA's Perseverance rover. JPL officials said in Saturday's update that aerial scouting helps the Perseverance Mars Rover team decide what moves to make next. Tariq Malik can be reached at tmalik@space.com, or on Twitter @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom on Facebook and Instagram.

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