Behold, the helicopter’s fastest and longest excursion over the Martian surface.
Since 2021, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has been soaring over the Martian surface in a series of autonomous flights.
In April, the helicopter completed its 25th flight on Mars, and also set some personal records.
NASA announced this feat last week in a press release.
The helicopter traveled 2,310 feet — a little less than half a mile — and reached a speed of 12 miles per hour.
For just over two and a half minutes, Ingenuity flew above sand ripples and rock fields before finding a flat stretch of the Martian surface to land on.
Now, the helicopter is planning for its 29th flight, though harsh winter conditions on Mars have caused a hiccup in its operations.
Though researchers were able to re-establish connectivity, Ingenuity Team Lead Teddy Tzanetos writes in a May 27 blog post that the Mars helicopter’s future is uncertain.
“Challenges like these are to be expected: After hundreds of sols and dozens of flights beyond the five flights originally planned, the solar-powered helicopter is in uncharted terrain.”