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Ingenuity will attempt its FOURTH flight: NASA to push the Mars helicopter to its limit

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter will attempt to fly on Mars for the fourth time today and could reach airspeeds of up to eight miles per hour as it soars for two minutes. The space agency said it would continue to push the 4lb copter to its limit in each subsequent test, this time almost doubling the speed of the third flight. The 18 inch tall craft will take off from'Wright Brothers Field' under the watchful gaze of the Perseverance rover at 10:12 EDT (15:12 BST), and soar up 16ft into the sky. Due to delays in sending data from the 187 million miles between Jezero crater on Mars and NASA JPL in California, we won't know if it worked until 13:21 EDT (18:21 BST). The small craft achieved all of its goals including flight duration, distance and speed, in the first three trips - so the fourth will'push the envelope' beyond what the small rotorcraft was designed to achieve by NASA JPL engineers. It will fly up to 16ft, head south over rocks, sand ripples and impact craters for 276ft and use its navigation camera to collect images of the surface every 4ft.


NASA reveals enhanced side-by-side videos from Ingenuity's first flight

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA has revealed a new'motion filter' video of the history-making Ingenuity helicopter flying on Mars showing just where the dust travelled around the craft. While Ingenuity was sent to the Red Planet as a'technical demonstration' with no science mission of its own, NASA says it could help scientists better understand how dust travels through the atmosphere of the Red Planet. The video, shot by the Mastcam-Z camera on the Perseverance rover, reveals plumes of Martian dust made by Ingenuity upon takeoff and landing. After the successful flight on Monday April 19, NASA named the airfield that hosted the takeoff the'Wright Brothers Field' in honour of the aeroplane inventors. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) say they will now be pushing the 4lb helicopter'to the limit' in a series of future flights between now and early-May. While Ingenuity was sent to the Red Planet as a'technical demonstration' with no science mission of its own, NASA says this could help scientists better understand how dust travels through the atmosphere of the Red Planet The main purpose of Mastcam-Z, a camera mounted on a mast attached to Perseverance, is to take photos and video in high definition.


NASA's Mars helicopter is going bigger and bolder TODAY

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter is making a second, bolder and more daring flight on the Red Planet today, going higher than its first history making flight on Monday. The US space agency said it would climb up to 16ft above the surface, hover briefly, tilt and move sideways for 7ft, take a series of colour photos and then land. It is set to take off at 10:30 BST, but due to delays in getting data to travel the 181 million miles between Earth and Mars, we won't know if it has worked until 14:21 BST. Flying on Mars is particularly challenging due to the fact its atmosphere is just 1% of Earth's at ground level, and while the lower gravity, a third of that on Earth, helps, it is only a partial offset against the thinner atmosphere. This means that in order to fly, the helicopter has to be ultra-light and rotate its blades extremely fast, up to 2,500 rpm, in order to achieve lift. Ingenuity made its first historic flight on Monday April 19, going up 10ft, hovering, snapping a photo, and returning to the newly named'Wright Brothers Field'.


NASA unlocks the 'blades of glory' on its Mars Ingenuity helicopter

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA has unlocked the'blades of glory' on its Ingenuity helicopter ahead of the small rotorcraft's maiden flight on Mars this weekend. The space agency called the reveal of the chopper blades'mind-bottling' in reference to a quote from the Will Ferrell ice skating movie'Blades of Glory'. In a short clip shared on Twitter, the 4ft wide blades can be seen slowly unlocking on top of the tiny 19 inch tall helicopter, ahead of a'spin up' test in the coming days. Ingenuity is set to take its first flight on April 11, which will see the copter take off, hover in place and then return for landing. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the team leading the Perseverance mission, tweeted: 'The blades of glory, aka rotor blades of the #MarsHelicopter, have been unlocked and are ready for testing.' The blades of glory, aka rotor blades of the #MarsHelicopter, have been unlocked and are ready for testing.


NASA shares FIRST color aerial photos of surface of Mars taken by Ingenuity helicopter

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA has shared the first color aerial images of the surface of Mars that were taken by Ingenuity during its second successful flight through the Martian atmosphere. The historic photographs were captured while the helicopter hovered 17 feet above the surface while it travels away from Perseverance, but manages to snap the rover's tire marks. The color images were snapped using Ingenuity's high resolution camera that has a 4208 x 3120-pixel sensor, as the device pointed 22 degrees below the horizon. 'The image, as well as the inset showing a closeup of a portion of the tracks [of] the Perseverance Mars rover and Mars surface features, demonstrates the utility of scouting Martian terrain from an aerial perspective,' NASA explained. Ingenuity first made history on April 18 when it became the first powered craft to fly on another planet in what NASA deems a'Wright Brothers moment.'