At the end of February we continued to write about the successful completion of the 46th flight Mars From NASA ingenuity. The small drone Part of the Mars 2020 mission with Perseverance continues to amaze with its capabilities considering it’s a project “secondary” within this mission and that its cost has been significantly reduced compared to that of the rover ($85 million versus about $2 billion).
As the weather conditions on the Red Planet improve and the sun gets stronger, the helicopter can charge its batteries better and thus heat up the electronics at night (when the temperature is extremely harsh). The March 9, 2023 was also completed 47th flight with a “small big” Surprise: the opportunity to see that drone from the surface of Mars. Something that had only happened at the beginning of the helicopter flights.
Data from the 47th flight of NASA’s Ingenuity drone
As reported in flight log officially The 47. Flight of the Mars drone found during the Sol 729 (12 soles after the previous one). The distance traveled was 440 meters, only slightly lower than the previous flight. The maximum height is always 12 meters, which makes it possible to easily overcome all obstacles on the surface.
To cover a relatively large distance, the speed was 5.3 m/s, while the flight time was 146.1 inches. So, in the horizontal direction, we moved from Theta Airfield to Iota Airfield. It seems that the JPL engineers’ strategy is to fly around the great Belva Crater is a particularly interesting area where you can see this sediment deposits Delta of the river that once filled the river with water Jezero Crater to create a large lake. Millions of years ago, the ideal conditions for the birth of microbial life could have existed here and new samples could therefore be collected here NASA endurance.
Rover and drone are currently almost 200 meters apart. It was this relative proximity that made it possible to capture images that were then edited into video on the day Flight 47 took off at Perseverance. Once again the capacity of Mastcam Z cameras to capture details of a small aircraft. The possibility of getting so far with it is also surprising drone which could possibly have made only five flights.
Image sequence showing the drone taking off (source)
It is very likely that in the future drones will become more and more basic and complex to perform even more advanced missions on planets or satellites with an atmosphere. Indeed, let us remember it NASA ingenuity, as a technological demonstrator, is not equipped with real scientific instruments, only two cameras (one in black and white and one in color). Already the versions for the Mars Sample Return Mission They will be equipped with a robotic arm, but we’ll have to wait for further developments to actually see the potential of this type of device (think Dragonfly).