My preference would have to go to Ingenuity, NASA’s Mars helicopter, out of all the various miniature space robots that are currently dispersed across the cosmos. It has vastly exceeded its original mission goals and is now buzzing around like an alien gnat across the red sands of Mars, relishing in the experience of flight on another world.
This past Saturday, NASA released the most recent video of the Ingenuity mission, giving you the opportunity to experience those thrills for yourself.
On the occasion of Ingenuity’s 25th flight, which took place on April 18, the little rotorcraft that could absolutely did. At a speed of 12 miles per hour, the unmanned flight travelled a total distance of 2,310 feet, which is equivalent to approximately 6.5 football fields. It was a flight that broke records, becoming the fastest and longest flight that has ever been completed (although, based on how well it performed on Mars, expect that record to be broken as well (no hex)), and the entire thing was recorded with the downward-facing camera that was installed on the helicopter.
“For our record-breaking flight, Ingenuity’s downward-looking navigation camera provided us with a breathtaking sense of what it would feel like to glide 33 feet above the surface of Mars at 12 miles per hour,” said Teddy Tzanetos, who leads the Ingenuity team out of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “For our record-breaking flight, Ingenuity’s downward-looking navigation camera provided us with a breathtaking sense of what it would feel like to glide 33 feet above
Ginny, as it is fondly referred to, went into a low-power state not too long ago, which resulted in a brief period of silence; however, it is almost ready to take off again. The following trip will be its 29th overall. That’s pretty good for a helicopter that was only supposed to make five flights in a period of thirty days. Perhaps the following time it will even discover a hidden doorway.