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NASA’s Mars helicopter will make its first one-way trip on Friday

NASA’s Ingenuity experimental helicopter hopes to take to the air on Mars for its fifth flight on May 7.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASU

This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet.

The Ingenuity of a helicopter the new themed song has to be Blondie one way or another. The rotorcraft on Mars is ready to make its first one-way flight on Friday. Until now, the helicopter acted like a self-guided pigeon, constantly returning to the same Martian night.

NASA is heading to 1

2:36 p.m. PT on May 7 for the fifth helicopter flight. It takes several hours to return the data to Earth and let the team know if the flight was successful.

There are other ambitious goals for this flight besides the landing site. Ingenuity is planned to fly up to 16 feet (5 meters) above the surface and then travel south 129 meters. After hitting this mark, he will aim to record at a height of 33 feet to capture some images of the terrain. It will then land after about 110 seconds of flight time.

The team of ingenuity uses fourth rotorcraft flight to reconnoiter the new landing site, which NASA described in a statement as “flat as a pancake.” The space agency does not want his experimental machine to touch rocks that could tilt it.

Ingenuity is a star on Mars. A series of increasingly ambitious flights has ended and will enter a new demonstration phase if the next flight succeeds. The helicopter team will focus on showing how it can be used to explore the landscape and support Persistence of the rover in its own scientific mission.

NASA seems to be amazed at the helicopter’s exploits. Ingenuity engineering chief Josh Ravich wrote in an update: “Our helicopter is even stronger than we hoped.”

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