Behold, the helicopter’s fastest and longest excursion over the Martian surface.
NASA via Giphy
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.
Here’s a time-lapse of Ingenuity’s record-breaking flight:
Ingenuity’s navigation camera wasn’t able to capture the very beginning or the end of the flight, since it is designed to shut off when it’s within three feet of the ground.
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.”
Ingenuity Team Lead Teddy Tzanetos, in a blog post