Mars Helicopter to Complete Sixth Flight

Space Coast, FL – NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is planned to make it’s sixth flight on the Red Planet. Ingenuity is now in it’s operations demonstration phase. This includes checking out many surface features from the air and landing in a different airfield.

Color image from an altitude of 33 feet (10 meters) during its fifth flight on May 7, 2021
Color image from an altitude of 33 feet (10 meters) during its fifth flight on May 7, 2021| Photo: Ingenuity/NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Data and images will be sent to Earth after a few days from the flight. The Mars Rover, Perseverance will not be recording any images of this flight. The rover is preparing the start of science operations for the mission.

The Flight

For the sixth flight, the plan for the helicopter is to ascend to 33 ft. (10 m) and go southwest ~492 ft. (~150 m). The helicopter will then begin to acquire color images of a place of interest as it goes south, roughly fifty to sixty-six feet (15-20 m).

Perseverance captures Ingenuity in flight during it's fifth flight, May 7, 2021
Perseverance captures Ingenuity in flight during it's fifth flight, May 7, 2021 | Photo: Perseverance/NASA/JPL-Caltech

Stereo imagery of the sand ripples and outcrops of bright rocks at the site will help demonstrate the value of an aerial perspective for future missions. After completing its image collection, Ingenuity will fly about 164 feet (50 meters) northeast where it will touch down at its new base of operations (known as "Field C").

This sixth flight will help continue the helicopters performance. Ingenuity will travel at nine miles an hour and the time aloft will be ~140 seconds. It will also be the first time ingenuity will land at an airfield that has not yet been surveyed from the air. NASA's Ingenuity team will only be using images captured by the HiRISE camera. Which is aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The images suggest this new base of operations is relatively flat and has few surface obstructions.

The date and time of the sixth flight is still to be determined.

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