The Inginuity mini-helicopter flew for the fifth time on Mars, positioning itself for the first time in a new location on the surface of the Red Planet, NASA said on its site.
Meanwhile, the US space agency has distributed the first-ever audio recorded during the previous Inginuty flight.
NASA reports that the fifth flight of the mini-helicopter lasted 108 seconds. During that time, Injinuty had moved 129 metres to the south, rising to a maximum height of 10 metres and taking high-quality colour photographs before landing.
During the previous four flights, the mini-helicopter always returned to the point of departure. “Our further plan is to move Injinuties so that it doesn't slow down the pace of the Percivierans' rover's scientific operations. We can make a few more flights in the coming weeks and then NASA will evaluate the results,” the mini-helicopter's chief engineer Bob Balaram said in a statement.
Meanwhile, global agencies say NASA has distributed the first audio recorded during the fourth Injinuity flight on Mars. Specialists weren't sure the Percivierans rover could record the sound of the mini-helicopter's in-flight spinning at over 2,500 rpm fins due to the rare atmosphere on the Red Planet.
This is both the first audio recording of a flight on Mars and the first one made by one spacecraft to another on another planet.
Inginuity mini-helicopter cannot be heard particularly well, as the Percivierans rover's microphone makes the recording from a distance of about 80 metres, and the rare atmosphere of Mars and wind muffle the sound of flight. A weak buzz is reminiscent of sounds made by a mosquito or another flying insect in the distance.
The little that is heard, however, is a “very pleasant surprise”, in the words of David Mimun from the Higher Institute of Aeronautics and Space at the University of Toulouse, France. “This record will become a goldmine for our understanding of the Martian atmosphere,” the scientist adds.
The mini-helicopter was delivered to Mars with the Percivierans rover, which descended to the surface of the Red Planet on February 18 this year. Its first Ingenuty flight took place on April 19. Then the small aircraft weighing 1.8 kilograms rose to a height of 3 meters. Its first flight lasted 39.1 seconds.
NASA calls the flights of the mini-helicopter a demonstration mission as they have no scientific purpose. Their task is to show that it is possible to take flight on Mars, as well as to gather data on the behavior of an aircraft on another planet.
The purpose of the Percivierans rover is to look for signs of life on the Red Planet in the past.
Inginuity mini-helicopter flew for the fifth time on Mars (Video)
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