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NASA Prepares for Mars Helicopter’s Fourth Flight; Lori Glaze Quoted

1 min read
Ingenuity Mars
Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

NASA expects to soon conduct the Mars helicopter's fourth flight, having demonstrated the spacecraft's ability to fly on the red planet. The Ingenuity helicopter will fly on Thursday from a Mars airfield dubbed the Wright Brothers Field, NASA said Thursday.

“From millions of miles away, Ingenuity checked all the technical boxes we had at NASA about the possibility of powered, controlled flight at the Red Planet,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division. 

The team in charge of the Mars helicopter was tasked to demonstrate controlled flight in a simulator chamber six years ago, marking the spacecraft's first flight objective. 

The second flight took place on April 19th when Ingenuity flew on Martian surface for the first time. The helicopter then demonstrated a down-range flight of 164 feet with a top speed of 6.6 feet per second during the third and most recent flight, which occurred on April 25.

The upcoming fourth test will have Ingenuity elevate to a 16-foot altitude, then collect surface imagery as it flies southward. The helicopter will then hover while capturing colored images.

“Future Mars exploration missions can now confidently consider the added capability an aerial exploration may bring to a science mission," Glaze said.

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