One way this time!

Marshelicopter Ingenuity has successfully entered airspace for the fifth time. The helicopter took off from a place called Wright Brothers Field, as it did on previous flights, and then landed – for the first time – completely different.

The flight
The helicopter reached a height of 10 meters on the fifth flight. Never had the helicopter flown so high; previous flights have taken place at a maximum height of five meters.

The Mars Perseverance rover took this photo during Ingenuity’s fifth flight. Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech.

Once at altitude, the helicopter traveled 129 meters. Although the helicopter invariably returns to the take-off site on previous flights, this has not happened now. After the 129-meter flight, the helicopter took some color photos of the underlying area, before landing there.

New landing site
Ingenuity’s new landing site has been – like the first – carefully chosen. And this on the basis of the data that Ingenuity had collected during the fourth flight. The data allowed the researchers to create an elevation map of the area and choose a site that is virtually flat and contains virtually no rocks and other obstacles.

Extended mission
Before the Ingenuity mission, NASA hoped to make about five flights to the Red Planet. But the mission is such a success that the US space agency has decided to extend it. The fifth mission is actually the transition between the main mission and the extended mission. During the main mission, NASA wanted to determine if a helicopter could fly to Mars. During the extended mission, the space agency wants to clarify what a Marshelicopter can do while exploring the Red Planet. Can it be used, for example, to map the work area of ​​rovers and thus help plot a safe route for a rover on Mars? And can he, for example, also explore areas of Mars that are difficult to access from the air? NASA hopes to get answers to these questions in the near future. And in the meantime, of course, we gain more experience by flying on other worlds.

NASA plans to perform a few more flights in the coming weeks. Then it will be revisited how Ingenuity is doing and whether more thefts are possible.

Hear ingenuity fly
Found last week Ingenuity’s fourth successful test flight in law. And during this flight, sound recordings were also made for the first time! The recordings were made by Perseverance. At first you only hear the wind, but later the sound of Ingenuity’s rotors is added.

The sound recordings are unique; Never before has a rover on another planet made audio recordings of another man-made object on that same planet. It was always exciting to know if Perseverance would succeed in making the recordings; the rover was about 80 meters from the helicopter when Ingenuity took off. But still managed to pick up the sound of the helicopter with 1 of the microphones.