(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Nasa's mini helicopter Ingenuity successfully completed yesterday its third flight on Mars, moving farther and faster than ever before, with a peak speed of 6.6' per second.
After two initial flights during which the craft hovered above the Red Planet's surface, the helicopter on this third flight covered 64' (50m) of distance, reaching the speed of 6.6' per second (2m per second), or about 4mph in this latest flight.
'Today's flight was what we planned for, and yet it was nothing short of amazing, said Dave Lavery, the Ingenuity project's programme executive.
The Perseverance rover, which carried the four-pound (1.8kg) rotorcraft to Mars, filmed the 80-second third flight.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) said yesterday that video clips would be sent to Earth in the coming days.
The lateral flight was a test for the helicopter's autonomous navigation system, which completes the route according to information received beforehand.
'If Ingenuity flies too fast, the flight algorithm can't track surface features, Nasa explained in a statement about the flight.
Ingenuity's flights are challenging because of conditions vastly different from Earth's foremost among them a rarefied atmosphere that has less than one percent the density of our own.
This means that Ingenuity's rotors, which span 4', have to spin at 2,400 revolutions per minute to achieve lift about five times more than a helicopter on Earth.
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