NASA Ingenuity reached a height of 20 meters for the first time during its 59th flight

As we wrote a few days ago Martian drone NASA Ingenuity he managed to overcome his limits more than once. Being the first device of this type ever created to fly on another planet, it was not obvious that it would be able to complete even a single flight in the thin Martian atmosphere. Instead, after months, he has now successfully achieved the 59th flight.

The device, companion of the NASA Perseverance rover for the Mars 2020 mission, is only the first of what could become a long series of drones that will explore worlds far from Earth. Mars it could be one of the preferable candidates but Venus and Titan could also join the list. For the latter, the Dragonfly mission is planned (which however risks being canceled or postponed due to budget problems). In the meantime NASA Ingenuity continues to fly and during the 59th flight has reached a height never reached before.

NASA Ingenuity has flown up to 20 meters high

As already announced after Flight 58, the Martian drone during the 59th flight was expected to surpass previously set records. In particular, JPL evaluated the possibility of reaching a maximum height above the ground of 20 meters. Previously NASA Ingenuity it had reached 18 meters on April 13, 16 meters on April 2 and 14 meters on December 3, 2022 (for the 50th, 49th, 35th flight respectively).

Initially the Martian drone it should not have exceeded 12 meters due to the laser altimeter that allows you to move safely on the surface of the Red Planet. In general, the small helicopter rarely flew at altitudes other than 10 meters and 12 meters. Initially, when the confidence with the device and the atmospheric conditions were not yet high, the engineers limited themselves to flights of 3 meters and 5 meters altitude.

According to what was reported by flight log official the 59th flight it took place on 16 September 2023. As previously written, there was no horizontal movement and therefore the airfield always remained Sigma. The horizontal speed is also obviously absent while the flight time was 142.6″. All the data confirm the good result of this test and in the next few days it should also be possible to see a video taken by the NASA Perseverance rover through the Mastcam cameras -Z.

Currently no 60th flight has been announced but it could still take place by the end of September. To have four flights in a month you have to go back to April 2023 while between May and August you were limited to a maximum of three flights. Currently NASA Ingenuity it is separated from NASA Perseverance by about 400 meters and both are located on what may once have been a coastal region of the lake that filled Jezero Crater.

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