Ingenuity continues to expand its capabilities on the surface of Mars. A NASA reconnaissance drone exploring the Red Planet with the Perseverance rover broke the record for flight duration and speed.
The space agency posted a video where a helicopter flies at 12 miles per hour (about 20 km/h) for 2 hours and 42 seconds. It flew about 705 meters, filming sand wrinkles and rocky fields on the surface of Mars. An accelerated video of his flight can be watched in 35 seconds.
You can see that there is no start and end of the flight in the video. The fact is that the drone’s navigation camera is turned off at a height of about a meter above the planet’s surface so that dust does not damage the system. The autonomous drone receives a flight plan from coordinators from Earth but uses a camera, laser rangefinder, and inertial measurement unit to adapt to real conditions.
The record flight was the 25th in the history of Ingenuity. Since then, it has conducted three more and is now preparing for the next, 29th expedition. It will take off for the first time after a short break in early May when scientists lost contact with the helicopter for a while.