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Martian Drone Ingenuity Makes Record Flight

NASA’s Ingenuity drone on Mars captured video of record-breaking flight distance, NASA reports. The flight itself took place on April 8, it was the 25th since the beginning of the mission.

The helicopter covered 704 meters at a speed of more than 19 km / h, it was the fastest and longest drone flight on Mars. After reaching a height of 10 meters, the drone headed southwest, flying over a cluster of sand ripples and then over rocks.

The flight video, 161.3 seconds long, was sped up by about five times, reducing it to less than 35 seconds.

The navigation camera was programmed to turn off when the drone got within one meter of the surface so that the dust that rises during takeoff and landing does not interfere with the navigation system.

Ingenuity flights are autonomous. “Pilots” at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory plan ahead and send commands to the Perseverance Mars rover, which then relays those commands to the drone. During flight, on-board sensors, a navigation camera, an inertial measuring device, and a laser rangefinder, it provides real-time data to the Ingenuity navigation processor and main flight computer that control the helicopter in flight. This allows Ingenuity to respond to changing terrain.

Mission controllers recently lost contact with Ingenuity after the helicopter went into a low power state. Now the connection with the drone has been restored and it is ready for new missions.

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