Washington: During its 35th flight, NASA's Ingenuity helicopter has traveled farthest from the surface of Mars. On December 3, the 1.8-kilogram helicopter broke the previous aviation record by flying 46 feet above the Red Planet.
The previous record was set when the helicopter climbed 39 feet. Three times—during its tenth, eleventh, and fifteenth flights—it was accomplished.
In February 2021, the Ingenuity helicopter took off with the Perseverance rover and landed on Mars. The first to demonstrate that powered flight was possible on Mars was ingenuity.
NASA escalated the mission after the initial technology demonstration phase was over. It is now focused on practicing reconnaissance and flight operations for the rover that can be used in future missions.
The duration of the Ingenuity helicopter's 35th flight on December 3 was 52.22 seconds, during which it covered a horizontal distance of 50 feet at a speed of 10.8km/h.
According to NASA's official flight log, the helicopter has made 35 successful flights so far. Cumulatively, it traveled 24,302 feet and floated for 59.9 minutes. Its highest ground speed is 19.8km/h.
Recently, Ingenuity did a significant software upgrade that took several weeks to install. Hazard avoidance during landing and the use of a digital elevation map for navigational aids are two significant new capabilities that this update simplifies, according to NASA.
The update adds new functionality to Ingenuity, expanding its capabilities and turning it into a powerful scout for Perseverance.
The last 34th flight, which lasted 18.3 seconds and lifted Ingenuity 16 feet above the ground, was the shortest flight in Mars aviation history. Ingenuity flew for the first time this time, after receiving a software update.