According to news on April 26, local time on Sunday, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter completed its third flight test to Mars. The flight altitude is 16.5 feet (about 5 meters), the round-trip distance is 328 feet (about 100 meters), and the duration is about 1 minute and 20 seconds.
As with the previous two flights, the Wit executed the instructions from the Earth perfectly. At 4:31 a.m. Eastern Time on April 25 (16:31 Beijing time), the Gizwits lifted to an altitude of 5 meters, flew about 50 meters, and then returned and landed at the starting point. This is about 25 times the distance of the second test flight three days ago, with a top speed of 7.2 kilometers per hour.
This flight is mainly to test the navigation system of the WITZ. The system visually tracks the position of the helicopter by comparing the ground features recorded by the onboard camera. The farther the helicopter flies, the more images the camera needs to take to remember the features of the landform below. If it flies too fast, the witty may not be able to recognize its location.
Mimi Aung, project manager of the Gizwits, said: “This is the first time we have run this algorithm across the planet. You can’t do it in the laboratory.”
The witty is about 90 centimeters high. The project cost 85 million US dollars to prove that the helicopter can carry out controlled power flight in the thin atmosphere of Mars, because the atmosphere on the surface of Mars is only 1% of the density of the earth’s atmosphere.
Wit and NASA’s Perseverance rover arrived on the red planet in February. Before Perseverance began its main mission, which was to search for signs of ancient life in the dry river delta, the Witt mission team had 30 Martian days (approximately 31 Earth days) to complete five test flights of the helicopter.
Dave Lavery, Project Director of the Giz, said: “Today’s flight is in line with the expected plan, but it is amazing. Through this flight, we have demonstrated the key capabilities that will enable future Mars missions. Can increase the dimensionality in the air.”
Håvard Grip, the chief pilot of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Wit, previously stated: “For the third flight, our goal is to lift off to the same altitude, but we will be more Further. When we fly 50 meters north and return to land, the top airspeed increases from 0.5 meters per second to 2 meters per second (7.2 kilometers per hour). Our planned total flight time is about 80 seconds and the total distance is 100 Meter.”
On April 19, Giz made history and became the first powered aircraft to fly on an alien planet. The first flight lasted for a short time, only 39.1 seconds in the air, just a simple lift-off and landing. On April 22, the second test flight of Gwit reached a higher altitude and completed a short lateral movement.
With the success of the first three flights, the engineers of the Gizwits have more than ten days to complete the last two test flights. These tests will further demonstrate the limits of Giz’s capabilities. Mimi Ang said after the successful first test flight that she hopes to fly a distance of about 2,300 feet (about 700 meters) for the fifth time.
NASA said that the fourth test flight of the witty will take place in a few days. At present, the agency has no plans to deploy a second helicopter on Mars, but the chief engineer of the project Bob Balaram (Bob Balaram) said that they have begun to draft a design for a larger Mars helicopter that should be able to carry Approximately 10 pounds (about 4.5 kilograms) of scientific equipment.