NASA’s JPL is celebrating another successful flight for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. The helicopter has now flown a total of one mile since its first flight. Its most recent test flight targeted an area known as “Raised Ridges.”
The flight was the most complex that Ingenuity has undertaken so far, with ten different waypoints. During the flight, the helicopter also reached a record height of 40 feet above the surface of Mars. NASA outlined the mission the day before for Flight 10, scheduled for no earlier than Saturday, July 24.
The Raised Ridges area was targeted for the geographic features starting approximately 164 feet south-by-southwest of where Ingenuity landed after its ninth test flight. Raised Ridges was selected for investigation because it was an area that Perseverance scientists found intriguing and were considering visiting with the rover in the future.
The flight began with Ingenuity taking off from its sixth airfield and climbing to an altitude of 40 feet. It then headed south-by-southwest for about 165 feet to reach a second waypoint where it took an image. The helicopter then translated sideways to waypoint 3, taking another image. The goal is to take imaging data from both of those photographs to generate a single stereo image.
Ingenuity then flew further to the west to waypoints four and five, where it took another stereo pair of images before heading northwest for two more sets of stereo pairs at waypoints 6 and 7 and 8 and 9. After completing the last of its waypoints, Ingenuity turned northeast and landed at its seventh airfield about 310 feet west of Airfield 6. The total time in the air for this flight was 165 seconds. Ingenuity has survived 107 Martian days since deployment from Perseverance, which is 76 Martian days longer than the original technology demonstration mission was designed for. The helicopter has collected 43 images so far.