The mini helicopter Ingenuity took off on Mars on Friday and has successfully made its fourth flight. It was again faster and further than the previous times. On Thursday, something went wrong at the start and the aircraft stayed on the ground. NASA engineers recognized that problem from previous tests. One day it worked out in the rematch.
The 1.8 kilo Ingenuity (Ingenuity) was commissioned to fly 133 meters south and, among other things, to take pictures of a possible new landing site. It will be the final destination of the next trip on the red planet, where the air pressure just above the surface is already very low.
NASA has decided not to leave it at those five air trips on Mars. The mission of Ingenuity, which is powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, is extended for another 30 days. “After that period, well look at how we stand,” said spokesman Lori Glaze at a press conference. “There is a possibility that we will continue even longer.”
For the Mars helicopter, which was on board the NASA truck Perseverance (Perseverance), the conditions on Mars are extreme. Through the rarefied atmosphere, roughly 1 percent of those on Earth, the rotors have to make more than 2500 revolutions per minute to break away from the ground. In addition, the solar energy is smaller and the batteries suffer from the low temperatures at night, when the mercury can drop to 90 degrees below zero.