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The Mars Ingenuity helicopter completed its eleventh flight today. The mission was designed to put the Ingenuity helicopter ahead of the Mars Perseverance rover, and to function as a scouting mission for the rover. Both robots are operating in the “South Séítah” region of Mars.
The flight took place at 12:30 p.m. local Mars time (12:47 a.m. EDT). Ingenuity climbed to a height of 39 feet (12 meters), then headed downrange at a speed of 11 mph (5 meters per second). The goal of this flight was primarily to reposition the helicopter, however, the science team also used the opportunity to take additional imagery in an area that could potentially include ground targets for Mar Perseverance rover to explore.
Next up for Ingenuity helicopter will be additional reconnaissance flights in this region to scout for additional targets for Perseverance.
Mars Perseverance to take first samples
Also this week, the Mars Perseverance is planning to acquire its first samples by drilling into a target rock and then collecting the excavated material. The samples collected by Perseverance will eventually be stashed for a future mission that will collect the samples and return them to earth for analysis. This is the start of a historic science mission that will eventually return up to 35 samples back to earth.