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Mars Helicopter Ingenuity Aces Flight After Software Update

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In this illustration, NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter stands on the Red Planet's surface.

With the new software, Ingenuity will be able to scout a wider range of terrain types.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Mars helicopter Ingenuity has flown its shortest-ever flight following a software update.

The 18-second flight involved Ingenuity hovering over Mars' surface before landing 16 feet (5 meters) from its takeoff point.

The flight tested a new software system transmitted to the helicopter from Earth to improve its ability to navigate the rugged terrain the Perseverance rover is traversing in Jezero Crater.

The Ingenuity team said the software will use the vehicle's downward-facing camera to identify risky objects, steering the helicopter to avoid them and to find the safest visible landing site.

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