NASA Ingenuity helicopter takes its second bigger and better flight on Mars

After the success of its first flight at the beginning of this week, Ingenuity took its second flight early this morning. This flight pushed the tech demo to do more challenging tasks as they step through their testing campaign this month.

Monday, we received images and video of the first-ever powered flight on another planet. This was only a short 30-second hover above the ground but made waves across the community of its historic importance. That flight was just a test to see if the vehicle could even fly in the thin atmosphere of Mars and it knocked it out of the park.

Today NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) released an image from the helicopter’s black and white camera of its second flight. This flight conducted a higher flight, longer hover, and moved laterally before touching back down.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

While this downlink prioritized the flight data and the smaller black and white images from the helicopter, in the coming Sols (Martian days) teams plan to downlink the color images taken during this flight.

View of Ingenuity’s flight from the Perseverance rover. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Some images were downlinked from Perseverance cameras, which watched the flight from afar. One color image was uploaded to the JPL RAW images site and it shows Ingenuity in the air for part of its flight. More images and hopefully video should be coming out in the coming hours or days.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltch

NASA’s Ingenuity is a tech demonstrator built using off-the-shelf parts to perform the first flights on Mars. With its short life span, JPL hopes to show the importance of sending more sophisticated helicopters or drones to distant worlds in the quest to explore and understand our solar system more.

Stay tuned here as more updates about the historic second flight come out.

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