NASA wants to go further and faster for fourth helicopter flight to Mars

When NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter completed On its third flight in April, its ground crew achieved the last of three goals necessary for the technology demonstration project to be a success. That’s why, for its fourth test flight, the Ingenuity team wants to push the machine’s performance on Mars by flying over more rocks and craters and going faster than ever. It will happen as soon as it is late: NASA has ad that the helicopter’s fourth flight is scheduled to take off on April 29 at 10:12 a.m. EST.

The Ingenuity team achieved their first goal six years ago when they demonstrated that the helicopter could fly inside a JPL chamber. When ingenuity Fly for the first time on Mars in April, the team achieved its second goal. It passed its third and final target when the helicopter flew 164 feet at a speed of about 4.5 MPH and at an altitude of 16 feet on its third flight, so there is nothing else to do than try to beat those numbers.

Chief Ingenuity Engineer J. “Bob” Balaram said:

“When Ingenuity’s landing stages landed after this third flight, we knew we had accumulated more than enough data to help engineers design future generations of Mars helicopters. We now plan to expand our reach, speed and duration to better understand performance.

For the fourth flight, Balaram and his team want the helicopter to venture about 276 feet from its origin at an altitude of 16 feet. They also increase the helicopter’s flight time from 80 seconds to 117 seconds and increase its top speed from 4.5 MPH to 8 MPH. NASA’s JPL expects to get the first dataset of the flight at 1:21 p.m. EST on the same day, so you won’t have to wait that long to find out if the fourth flight was a success.

Although the team already have ideas for the fifth flight, they are slow to set goals until they get the results for the fourth. After five flights, NASA is expected to reduce its ingenuity efforts and focus on the main mission of the Perseverance rover: to search for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet.

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