In its first flight on Monday, Ingenuity was aloft for 39.1 seconds, and rose to a top of 10 ft earlier than making a flip and touchdown the place it started. However the quick hop was the primary powered flight on one other world, and prolonged NASA’s listing of distinctions on Mars.
It additionally bolstered how the photo voltaic system’s mysteries will be unlocked with modes of transportation past robotic floor rovers and orbiting satellites. Impressed by Ingenuity’s achievements, engineers on Earth could also be extra inspired to review a planet like Venus from a robotic blimp, or the oceans of icy moons like Europa from a submarine drone.
There aren’t any present plans to place a second helicopter on Mars. However Bob Balaram, the mission’s chief engineer, mentioned on Monday he and colleagues had begun sketching out designs for a bigger Mars helicopter able to carrying some 10 kilos of science tools.
The Ingenuity staff has little time to spare to finish its check program. NASA allotted solely 30 Martian days — about 31 Earth days — for as much as 5 check flights. Then the rover, its hyperlink to Earth, will head off to begin its predominant mission of looking for indicators of previous life in a dried-up river delta alongside the rim of the crater.