Click for full image.
Though circumstances can obviously change, the Ingenuity/Perseverance science teams have scheduled Ingenuity’s 10th Martian flight for sometime later today, with a flight plan, shown to the right, that is even more ambitious.
Flight 10 will allow us to reap the benefits of our previous flight. Scheduled for no earlier than this Saturday (July 24), Flight 10 will target an area called the “Raised Ridges” (RR), named for the geographic features that start approximately 164 feet (50 meters) south-by-southwest of our current location. We will be imaging Raised Ridges because it’s an area that Perseverance scientists find intriguing and are considering visiting sometime in the future.
From navigation and performance perspectives, Flight 10 will be our most complex flight to date, with 10 distinct waypoints and a nominal altitude of 40 feet (12 meters). It begins with Ingenuity taking off from its sixth airfield and climbing to the new record height. It will then head south-by-southwest about 165 feet (50 meters), where upon hitting our second waypoint, take our first Return to Earth (RTE) camera image of the Raised Ridges, looking south. Next, we’ll translate sideways to waypoint 3 and take our next RTE image – again looking south at Raised Ridges.
Imagery experts at JPL hope to combine the overlapping data from these two images to generate one stereo image. Flying farther to the west, we’ll try for another stereo pair of images (waypoints 4 and 5), then head northwest for two more sets of stereo pairs at waypoints 6 and 7 as well as 8 and 9. Then, Ingenuity will turn northeast, landing at its seventh airfield – about 310 feet (95 meters) west of airfield 6. Total time in the air is expected to be about 165 second.
Unlike the previous flights, this one will involve several turns while in the air. The engineers are definitely pushing the envelope with each flight, thus not only gathering scientific data about Jezero Crater but also advancing their engineering knowledge on the art of robotic flying on Mars.
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