NASA’s Marshelicopter Ingenuity completed its second test flight to Mars on Thursday. This time the plane flew longer and higher than in the first test.
Ingenuity made its first test flight last Monday. The small helicopter climbed 3 meters, where it hovered for about 40 seconds. Then he landed again in the same place. It was the first time that a helicopter had flown on another planet.
On Thursday, the helicopter took off at a height of nearly 5 meters to bank and fly 2 meters to the side. The helicopter’s color cameras were also tested in several directions. The aircraft remained in the air for nearly 52 seconds.
In the coming weeks, the Marshelicopter will fly several hundred meters above the planet a few times. After each flight, the device needs a few days to recharge its battery using solar energy (scarce).
It is very cold on Mars and the atmospheric pressure is much lower (1% of atmospheric pressure on Earth). Due to the lower air pressure, it is more difficult to take off. This is why the helicopter has long rotor blades that spin faster than what would be needed on Earth (2,500 times per minute instead of 400/500 times per minute on Earth).
Ingenuity’s data will be used, among other things, for future flights around the planet.