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NASA Mars helicopter aces eighth flight to keep up with Perseverance rover

Here's to a great flight eight. "Just a reminder that you're living in the future."

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Ingenuity snapped a view of its own shadow on the surface of Mars during its eighth flight.

NASA/JPL-Caltech
This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet.

Flight eight is in the books. When NASA's Ingenuity helicopter was attempting its first flights on Mars, the Perseverance rover was there to watch over it. Now the chopper is returning the favor by acting as a scout and companion to the busy rover. It continues to rack up the flight successes.

NASA announced on Monday that Ingenuity had completed its eighth flight on June 21.   

The rotorcraft flew south by about 525 feet (160 meters) and landed at a new location at a distance of about 438 feet (133.5 meters) from the rover. It snapped a view of its own shadow beneath it as it flew.

Ingenuity had quite a track record already. It demonstrated the first powered, controlled flight on another planet, survived an in-flight anomaly and went on to complete a seventh flight earlier this month.

"The Mars helicopter is set to make its eighth flight, as it hops southward alongside me. Just a reminder that you're living in the future," the Perseverance team had tweeted on Friday.

The rover has kicked off its first science campaign and is on the move, so NASA is prioritizing the activities of the wheeled vehicle as it searches for signs of ancient life on the red planet. Ingenuity is now in an operations demonstration phase where its team is testing how it can be used to scout the Martian landscape and support the rover's work.

Ingenuity has been wildly successful, and now every new flight is an extra treat. 

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