NASA’s Mars Helicopter Flies Once more and Will get a New Mission

However the engineers additionally knew that if the error recurred, they might simply strive once more the next day, and the second try would more than likely succeed. That’s precisely what occurred on Friday.

If Ingenuity continues to function and show helpful, NASA may proceed to increase its life.

Ms. Aung and Bob Balaram, the chief engineer of Ingenuity, mentioned that the helicopter was designed to final solely 30 Martian days and that they might not say how lengthy it will stay in working situation. However Dr. Balaram additionally mentioned the lifetime of Ingenuity was not intrinsically restricted. The helicopter recharges its batteries via photo voltaic panels, so it is not going to run out of gas, as an illustration.

A high velocity of 8 miles per hour could not appear notably quick, however the robotic helicopter has to fly over an alien panorama with no assist from the engineers on Earth. It makes use of a down-looking digital camera to map the panorama beneath, and if it flew too quick, it may lose observe of the place it was and maybe crash.

Nonetheless, Ingenuity has not flown any increased than the 16 toes of the final three flights, despite the fact that its two four-foot-wide counter-rotating blades generate sufficient carry to go increased off the bottom. That’s largely a limitation of its altimeter, which measures the peak by bouncing a laser off the bottom and noting the time for the mirrored gentle to return to the sensor.

Dr. Balaram mentioned the 16-foot altitude was a “candy spot” that gives good decision for the pictures used for navigation.

“I wouldn’t be shocked if at some explicit location we’re requested to go to a better vantage level,” Dr. Balaram mentioned. The helicopter may go as much as 32 toes or so with out inflicting issues for the altimeter and “present some panoramic-type imagery that is likely to be helpful to the rover operators or the scientists.”

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