NASA's Mars helicopter goes further on its third flight
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NASA's Ingenuity helicopter has just completed a much more ambitious third flight. As the Space site reports, the plane from Mars ventured about 164 feet north of its base of operations (a little more than half the length of a football field) at a speed of about 7.2 km / h. It may not sound like much, but Ingenuity only traveled 3.9 meters at 1.7 km / h during its second flight; this was far enough that you almost had to squint to see Ingenuity in the photo above.
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Only two potential flights remain before NASA halts its efforts in early May and shifts focus to the main mission of the Perserverance rover . However, expect these to be exciting. Project director Mimi Aung said the last two trips should be "really adventurous" and test the limits of the flying machine.
The successes so far are likely to have a significant impact on future exploration of Mars. The ingenuity is proof that airplanes can fly on the planet despite its very low atmospheric density, and now there is a good chance that subsequent missions will use drones to study Mars from perspectives that were simply not available before.
Third flight in the history books- NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) April 25, 2021
Our #MarsHelicopter continues to set records, flying faster and farther. The space chopper is demonstrating critical capabilities that could enable the addition of an aerial dimension to future missions to Mars & beyond. https://t.co/TNCdXWcKWE pic.twitter.com/Uaxrr23Rfh