NASA
Team Ingenuity

NASA’s Mars Helicopter Completes Much Longer Flight, Does Tricks

byVictor Tangermann
Apr 22
NASA

"Go big or go home!"

Second Flight

After its first groundbreaking flight on the surface of Mars, NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity successfully took off for the second time this morning.

And this time it went “bigger,” according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab — a longer and more nimble flight that really managed to show off the copter’s capabilities.

“Go big or go home!” read a JPL tweet celebrating the flight, accompanied by a stunning black-and-white image showing the shadow of the four-pound helicopter as it hovered over the Martian surface.

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Sideways Shuffle

Ingenuity pull off a Tony Hawk-worthy trick on its flight this morning.

“We’ll attempt a more challenging 2nd flight on April 22: 50-second flight time, climb to [roughly] 16 ft (5m), and 5 degree tilt to accelerate sideways [about] 7 ft (2m),” a recent tweet by the lab reads.

After moving sideways, Ingenuity came to a stop, hovered in place, and then turned to point its color camera in different directions before heading back to the middle of the “Wright Brothers Airfield.”

“Of course, all of this is done autonomously, based on commands we sent to Perseverance to relay to Ingenuity the night before.” Ingenuity’s principal investigator MiMi Aung wrote in a blog update prior to the second flight attempt.

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Just like during Ingenuity’s maiden voyage, NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance was watching from about 210 feet away with both its navigation cameras and the Mastcam-Z imagers, a mast-mounted camera system that has a zoom function, pointed at the action.

“We’re expecting more phenomenal imagery on this second flight test,” Aung wrote.

Keep It Up

On Monday morning, Ingenuity spun up its two blades and took off to hover for roughly 30 seconds at ten feet above the Martian surface, becoming the first manmade object to achieve powered, controlled flight off the surface of another planet.

The team will keep pushing the little rotorcraft in the coming weeks. Aung and her team are planning to fly it at least three more times within the next 14 days.

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READ MORE: We’re Getting Ready for Ingenuity’s Second Flight [NASA]

More on Ingenuity: New Vid Shows NASA’s Mars Helicopter Kicking Up Dust During Flight


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