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Ingenuity performs the lowest and slowest flight on Mars, thus obtaining more detailed photographs of the Martian soil

Exceeding all expectations of him, the helicopter NASA Ingenuity has made a new flight on Mars. 13 are the flights you have already made on the Martian surface and with the latter he has collected the most detailed photographs of all. Reason? It has flown over the area at a lower altitude and slower than ever.


During this weekend Ingenuity you have successfully flown your 13th flight. The chosen area has been South Seitah, an area with rocky outcrops that it previously flew over during its 12th flight. So why again? To better examine the area, taking pictures in the opposite direction to the one taken on the previous flight.

The idea of ​​this is combine the images of both flights to make a 3D mapping of the area with more topographic details. This will also help them better plan what to do in the future with the Perseverance rover and where to direct it to explore.

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The path of Ingenuity and Perseverance on Mars to date.

Slower = better details

Ingenuity has been focused on a specific ridge of South Seitah. To do this, it has flown at a height of just under eight meters above the surface. To put it in context, previous missions have been ten meters high or more. This allows in a way to obtain higher quality photos with the navigation camera in black and white and the color camera of the small drone.

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This is what a photograph captured by Ingenuity looks like before it is processed to adjust color and other details.

Another interesting detail is the flight time. Or, more specifically, the speed of flight. While on flight number 12 the distance was approximately 450 meters, this time the distance was only 210 meters. However, the flight time has been approximately the same, a total of 161 seconds compared to 169 seconds for flight number 12. What does this tell us? That the speed of the drone has been much lower, thus allowing you to take more specific photos.

Since the Ingenuity began to fly it has taken a total of 72 color photographs and about 1,400 black and white photographs with the navigation cameras. It has been operating for 141 days since it made the first flight. As far as distance is concerned, it has traveled around 2.7 kilometers.

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It was assumed that Ingenuity was to be a technology test and demo to see if a helicopter can fly on Mars. However, the little helicopter has done much more than that. It has worked 358% more than expected, it has flown 140% more than expected and it has traveled 435% more than expected. And it still seems that he has a long way to go.

Via | POT