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NASA’s Ingenuity celebrates 70th flight with new record

Published Jan 4th, 2024 6:40PM EST
mars helicopter
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Since its arrival on the Red Planet alongside Perseverance, the Ingenuity helicopter has done some incredible things. Not only has it proven that flight is possible on another planet, but the spacecraft was only designed to complete five flights, and now it has completed a total of 70th, setting even more records as it goes.

This is, of course, extremely fascinating for space lovers who have had their eyes on the Martian exploration that NASA and others have been pushing for the past several years. During that time, it has completed 70 flights, and on its 70th flight, the Mars Helicopter traveled more than 260 meters in 132 seconds.

During its time on the Red Planet, Ingenuity has acted as a spotter for the Perseverance rover, and has even survived near-death experiences on the Martian surface as it has hopped its way across our cosmic neighbor.

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to the Ingenuity flights, as each one helps scientists and engineers learn more about what works on planets like Mars, which have thinner atmospheres.

Those thinner atmospheres make it much more difficult to fly than it is here on Earth. As such, learning how to navigate those atmospheres can prove exceptionally useful for future spacecraft development, especially if we have any hope of colonizing Mars or the moon at any point in the future. Being able to easily travel via flight would make traversing those planets much easier.

Of course, Ingenuity is working against all odds, too, because of how long it has continued to work despite its designs only really allowing for five flights. It’s unclear exactly how long the Mars helicopter will continue to fly, but as long as Ingenuity can complete flights, we’ll be able to learn more about the Martian atmosphere and how spacecraft interact with it.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.