NASA has restored contact with the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars after an unexpected communication loss after two days. Ingenuity is the name of a small helicopter sent to Mars by NASA.
Ingenuity helicopter is a flying drone that lost contact during a mission on Jan 18, 2024. It stayed offline for two days. It raised concerns that this supposedly unstoppable robotic drone could fall victim to the harsh Martian environment.
However, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA (JPL) announced on Jan 21, 2024, that it has restored contact with the Mars Ingenuity helicopter. The difficulties started on the 72nd flight of the Ingenuity helicopter.
NASA scientists sent it to Mars to find any problems after the 71st flight ended quickly due to an unknown problem. Meanwhile, the problem occurred when Ingenuity reached an intended height of 39 feet (12 meters). It suddenly abruptly lost contact while coming back down.
The ingenuity helicopter drone is too small to have a radio for direct communication with Earth. So, it uses the Perseverance rover as a communication link to pass its message to ingenuity. But during its 72nd flight, they lost touch.
After investigating the issue, JPL instructed the rover to start a long-duration search for Ingenuity’s signal. After 48 hours, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter reconnected with the Perseverance rover.
However, the team of NASA is currently analyzing the most recent Mars data in an attempt to determine why Ingenuity went down. Ingenuity arrived on Mars in 2021 and was mounted to the underside of the Perseverance rover.
It is the first example of a powerful flight on another planet in history. Since its first flight in May 2021, Ingenuity has flown for more than ten miles. However, NASA didn’t think the Ingenuity drone would make it through its first winter on Mars. But after almost three years, it is still working.
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