During the flight, Ingenuity ventured into the inaccessible area of Séítah. Are you watching?
In early September, Mars helicopter Ingenuity completed one of its most complex flights to date on its thirteenth flight. The Mars helicopter ventured into a fairly rough area, where it is not easy to take off and land. Still, Ingenuity managed to explore the area for no less than 160.5 seconds. Curious about what he saw here? NASA is now releasing the fantastic images!
Ingenuity’s thirteenth flight
During the Mars helicopter’s thirteenth flight, he explored an inaccessible area called Séítah. This area is characterized by numerous small sand hills and is therefore difficult to access for Mars rovers. But also for Ingenuity exploring this ‘unfriendly area’ is not without risk. For example, the systems that Ingenuity uses to determine its location and altitude are designed for flights over flat terrain. It could also not be ruled out that the helicopter would land in an area that is a lot more treacherous than the sandy plains that were previously chosen as a landing site. And finally, the helicopter’s telecom system would also be put to the test during the flight. Nevertheless, the Mars helicopter managed to complete the flight and was able to stay in the air for no less than 160.5 seconds. Despite that success, the flight has rightly been labeled one of his most complicated flights ever.
Using the Mastcam-Z (an advanced camera system), Mars rover Perseverance was able to capture Ingenuity’s thirteenth flight from afar. Below are the close-up images.
As the Mars helicopter takes off, it can be seen creating a small dust plume. Next, Ingenuity rises to the planned height of 8 meters above the Martian ground and performs a small pirouette; a maneuver with which the helicopter conjures up its color camera. Then Ingenuity tilts forward, pushing the thrust of the rotors horizontally through the thin Martian air. Later, the helicopter returns and lands near where it took off.
Perseverance also captured Ingenuity’s flight in a larger perspective using Mastcam-Z. Those images can be seen below.
The images show how the Mars helicopter moves from left to right and back again. Take-off and landing can also be seen.
The new images
“The value of Mastcam-Z is really reflected in these new images,” said Justin Maki, responsible for the camera and images Perseverance takes during its Mars mission. “Even from 300 meters away we are treated to beautiful close-ups of take-off and landing seen through the ‘right eye’ of Mastcam-Z. And while the helicopter is just a tiny speck in the wide-view footage, it gives viewers an idea of the magnitude of the environment Ingenuity is exploring.”
Meanwhile, the Mars helicopter is already preparing for its sixteenth flight on the red planet. During this upcoming flight, Ingenuity will rise to a height of 10 meters and spend about 100 seconds in the air. The intention is for Ingenuity to travel about 116 meters and land near the edge of South Séítah.