NASA announced this Tuesday (22) that its Ingenuity helicopter has successfully completed its eighth flight on Mars. The vehicle traveled 160 meters of distance, being the longest path taken by the device on the surface of the red planet.
According to the North American Space Agency, the helicopter was in the air for 77.4 seconds and landed 133.5 meters away from the Perseverance rover. The flight’s success surprised even NASA engineers, who didn’t believe it was possible. Proof of this is that Ingenuity was designed to run just five flights on Mars. With the ship in good condition, the agency decided to continue the mission.
Looking to the future
“As Ingenuity remains in excellent condition, we plan to use it for the benefit of future aerial platforms, while prioritizing and advancing the Perseverance rover’s short-term scientific goals,” said Chief Engineer Bob Balaram of the Laboratory of NASA’s Jet Propulsion (JPL).
It has yet to be confirmed whether Ingenuity will make more flights on the red planet, but Balaram has already guaranteed that the helicopter will enter a new phase. “This new operations demonstration gives us the opportunity to further expand our knowledge of flying machines on other planets,” he explained.