NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover is still functional and recently, its tiny helicopter called Ingenuity continues to explore the red planet. This makes it the 46th flight made by the robot helicopter.
Although the helicopter was originally designed to make just five flights and withstand the harsh situations on the planet, the helicopter continues to survive every seasonal change it encounters.
NASA recently shared images taken by the helicopter during its 45th flight which shows a different view of sunset on the red planet’s surface.
Although not entirely new, the image was taken as far back as Feb. 22d when the helicopter was making a long flight and traveling over 1600 feet from a location called Airfield Zeta to another area called Airfield Eta.
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The journey took about 145 seconds with the helicopter rising to a maximum altitude of about 40 feet while also hitting a high maximum groundspeed f over 13 miles per hour.
While traveling, the helicopter took the image using its high-res color camera which can capture images below the horizon. The reason for this is that the camera is angled 22 degrees below the horizon in order to focus on the ground which is where most of the target USD to study are located.
However, the helicopter does sway somewhat while in flight, so on odd occasions the camera will be tilted upward to view the sky, and in this case, it managed to snap the sun as well.
The captured image was sent over to NASA which was late shared on the internet. The space agency recently announced that Ingenuity is preparing for another test flight which will make it its 47th.
For the record, the helicopter made its 46th light which took place on Feb. 25th, and was able to cover about 1400 feet.
“Onward and upward, Ingenuity!” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory wrote on Twitter. “The #MarsHelicopter will attempt Flight 47 no earlier than March 9. It is expected to fly 1,411 feet (430 meters) southwest to reposition itself and image science targets along the way.”
An announcement about the next flight was made on March 9th even though there isn’t any update on the scheduled date for the flight.
This time around, NASA said the helicopter will cover another 1400 feet in about 10 seconds of flight while heading southwest.
The helicopter will continue t sap even more images of the planet as it makes its way across.