NASA’s Mars Ingenuity Helicopter Completes Second Flight

NASA’s engineers already made history on Monday with the 39.1-second flight of Ingenuity, a small helicopter, in the thin atmosphere on Mars. On Thursday, they added to their success when the experimental vehicle flew higher, longer and riskier.

At 5:33 a.m. Eastern time — it was 12:33 p.m. in Jezero crater on Mars — Ingenuity autonomously lifted again off the red surface of Mars, kicking up a cloud of dust as it ascended. It reached a height of 16 feet, tilted itself by 5 degrees to move seven feet sideways, hovered and turned to point its color camera in multiple directions, then returned to its starting point to land.

This flight lasted 51.9 seconds.

“It sounds simple, but there are many unknowns regarding how to fly a…

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