Washington | NASA’s small helicopter ingenuity made its second flight to Mars on Thursday, the first motorized craft to be flown to another planet after making history on Monday, the U.S. space agency said.
The flight, which lasted 51.9 seconds against 39.1 seconds on Monday, had “many new challenges” compared to the first, “especially high maximum attitude, longer duration and lateral movements,” NASA said in a press release.
The ingenuity took off at 5:33 a.m. (9:33 a.m. GMT), rising to a height of five meters, but it stopped three meters away on the previous flight and the aircraft made a lateral motion for the first time, fulfilling two NASA aspirations.
“It sounds very simple, but there are a lot of people who do not know how to fly a helicopter to Mars, so we’re here to find out the answers to these questions,” explained Howard Grip, one of its remote pilots.
The data received showed that the second aircraft “lived up to expectations”, said project chief engineer Bob Balaram.
“There are two planes to Mars under our belt, which means there is still a lot to learn with ingenuity this month,” he added.
Other planes are planned, but each time the “lifetime of ingenuity” is determined by the landing procedure, “explained Mimi Ang, head of the helicopter project, who said he wanted to” push our vehicle to its limits “.
The ingenuity experiment stops a month later from happening, which is the Perseverance rover that landed on Mars, to dedicate itself to its main task: to search for traces of ancient life on the planet. Red.