Liftoff

Watch: Ingenuity just set a record for the longest and fastest flight on Mars

Behold, the helicopter’s fastest and longest excursion over the Martian surface.

NASA via Giphy

NASA via Giphy

Since 2021, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has been soaring over the Martian surface in a series of autonomous flights.

NASA via Giphy

In April, the helicopter completed its 25th flight on Mars, and also set some personal records.

Not only was it Ingenuity’s longest flight, but its fastest as well.

NASA announced this feat last week in a press release.

NASA/JPL-CalTech

The helicopter traveled 2,310 feet — a little less than half a mile — and reached a speed of 12 miles per hour.

NASA

NASA/JPL-Caltech

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.

Ingenuity’s navigation camera captured it all on video, providing a glimpse into its travels.

NASA via Giphy

Here’s a time-lapse of Ingenuity’s record-breaking flight:

NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA/JPL-Caltech

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.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Now, the helicopter is planning for its 29th flight, though harsh winter conditions on Mars have caused a hiccup in its operations.

In early May, NASA lost connection with the helicopter.

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.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

“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

NASA/JPL-CalTech