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Watch NASA's Helicopter Fly Around Mars In This Incredible New Video

Ingenuity is one of the most advanced robots that's ever been sent to Mars — and NASA just shared an incredible new video of it flying around the planet. Mars is a destination with many secrets to uncover. Today, it's a cold, dry, and barren environment. Billions of years ago, however, it's believed to have once had flowing water and ancient life.

One of the ways humans have tried learning more about Mars is with advanced robots. This has been especially true of NASA's Mars research. In February 2021, NASA landed two new robots on Mars to hunt for signs of life — including the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter. While Perseverance is one of many rovers to have landed on Mars, Ingenuity is the first remote-controlled helicopter to ever fly on an alien planet. As far technical achievements go, Ingenuity is one of the most impressive things NASA's ever accomplished.

Related: NASA's Mars Helicopter Is Flying Again - Here's Where It's Headed

Unfortunately, while there's a lot of discussion around Ingenuity, we seldom get to see the helicopter in action. NASA shared a short video of Ingenuity taking off and landing on Mars in April, but it didn't really demonstrate what the helicopter is fully capable of. NASA just uploaded another video of Ingenuity flying on Mars, and in the organization's own words, it's "the most detailed look yet of the rotorcraft in action." 

As Ingenuity is lifting off, the video captures it kicking up a small cloud of dust with its rotors. Once it reaches the peak 26-foot latitude, Ingenuity "performs a small pirouette to line up its color camera for scouting." From here, the helicopter pitches ahead and then begins flying horizontally through the air — eventually leaving the camera's field of view. Ingenuity then comes back onscreen and lands about 39 feet from where it took off.

The above video was recorded with Perseverance's Mastcam-Z camera and shows a zoomed-in view of the helicopter's journey. NASA uploaded another video with an ultra-wide-angle that better demonstrates the scale of this flight. In the ultra-wide video, you can see Ingenuity detecting a change in elevation and automatically adjusting its flight path accordingly.

These two videos show Ingenuity's Flight 13 back in October. For this flight, Ingenuity captured 10 images of a rock-filled outcrop for the NASA team to study back on Earth. Most recently, Ingenuity completed Flight 15 where it flew for over two minutes and captured more images "of science interest." It may not share the same rock-collecting capabilities as its Perseverance sibling, but there's no denying the sheer impressiveness of what Ingenuity's capable of — especially with detailed videos like this.

Next: New Perseverance Photos Show The Dazzling Size Of Mars' Dunes

Source: NASA

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