Perseverance Rover

Wyvern

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Though it can also be slightly irritating at times.

I can agree with you on that point Grey Havoc, but I think that why NASA has done it that way is to get the younger generation interested in Spaceflight.
Yes, that is something I've definitely noticed them doing, especially back when I visited Cape Canaveral back in 2017. I think they're trying to captivate and inspire the youth of today like they inspired the youth of the days of Apollo and Space Shuttle. It's quite inspiring, as I think it's a great way to create ambition in younger generations.
 

Flyaway

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View: https://twitter.com/nasapersevere/status/1434376252819841026


I’ve got it! With better lighting down the sample tube, you can see the rock core I collected is still in there. Up next, I’ll process this sample and seal the tube. #SamplingMars

Latest images: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/multimedia/raw-images/
View: https://twitter.com/nasajpl/status/1434368229732798469


Happy Flight the 13th!
Ingenuity has achieved its 13th successful flight on Mars. It traveled at 7.3 mph (3.3 m/s) taking images pointing southwest of the South Seítah region. This aerial scouting continues to aid in planning @NASAPersevere’s next moves. go.nasa.gov/3dci8jE
 

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View: https://twitter.com/nasapersevere/status/1434376252819841026


I’ve got it! With better lighting down the sample tube, you can see the rock core I collected is still in there. Up next, I’ll process this sample and seal the tube. #SamplingMars

Latest images: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/multimedia/raw-images/
View: https://twitter.com/nasajpl/status/1434368229732798469


Happy Flight the 13th!
Ingenuity has achieved its 13th successful flight on Mars. It traveled at 7.3 mph (3.3 m/s) taking images pointing southwest of the South Seítah region. This aerial scouting continues to aid in planning @NASAPersevere’s next moves. go.nasa.gov/3dci8jE

Excellent news Flyaway from Ingenuity, looks like Ingenuity survived it’s 13th flight without any problems which is great.
 

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Flyaway

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View: https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1438892229951737856


Really appreciate this remarkably clear and detailed explanation of the Mars Ingenuity helicopter's next flights on Mars. TLDR; due to seasonal variation, the atmosphere is getting even thinner. So Ingenuity will spin faster. Really cool!


STATUS UPDATES | September 15, 2021
Flying on Mars Is Getting Harder and Harder
Written by Håvard Grip, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Chief Pilot at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

In the months since we flew for the first time, we have learned a great deal about operating a helicopter on Mars. We have explored Ingenuity’s strengths and limitations in detail, leveraging the former and working around the latter to operationalize it as a highly capable reconnaissance platform.

With the benefit of the knowledge acquired, conducting flights on Mars has in most ways become easier than it was at the outset. But in one important way it is actually getting more difficult every day: I’m talking about the atmospheric density, which was already extremely low and is now dropping further due to seasonal variations on Mars.

When we designed and tested Ingenuity on Earth, we expected Ingenuity’s five-flight mission to be completed within the first few months after Perseverance’s landing in February 2021. We therefore prepared for flights at atmospheric densities between 0.0145 and 0.0185 kg/m3, which is equivalent to 1.2-1.5% of Earth’s atmospheric density at sea level. With Ingenuity in its sixth month of operation, however, we have entered a season where the densities in Jezero Crater are dropping to even lower levels. In the coming months we may see densities as low as 0.012 kg/m3 (1.0% of Earth’s density) during the afternoon hours that are preferable for flight.

The difference may seem small, but it has a significant impact on Ingenuity’s ability to fly. At our lower design limit for atmospheric density (0.0145 kg/m3), we know that Ingenuity has a thrust margin of at least 30%. Thrust margin refers to the excess thrust that Ingenuity can produce above and beyond what is required to hover. That additional thrust is needed on takeoffs and climbs, during maneuvers, and also when tracking terrain with varying height. But if the atmospheric density were to drop to 0.012 kg/m3 in the coming months, our helicopter’s thrust margin could drop to as low as 8%, which means that Ingenuity would be operating close to aerodynamic stall (a condition where further increases in the blade’s angle of attack does not produce more lift, only more drag).

Thankfully, there is a way to tackle this issue – but it involves spinning the rotors even faster than we have been doing up to now. In fact, they will have to spin faster than we have ever attempted with Ingenuity or any of our test helicopters on Earth. This is not something we take lightly, which is why our next operations on Mars will be focused on carefully testing out higher rotor speeds in preparation for future flights.

We will begin by performing a high-speed spin of the rotor without leaving the ground, reaching a peak rotor speed of 2,800 rpm (more than a 10% increase relative to our prior Mars experience of 2,537 rpm). If all goes well, we will follow this with a short test flight at a slightly lower rotor speed of 2,700 rpm. This would be our 14th flight and (hopefully) a relatively boring one compared to any of our more recent flights, where we flew long distances to acquire images of interest for the Perseverance rover team. Occurring no earlier than Friday, Sept. 17 (with data coming down no earlier than Saturday morning), the short hop would have Ingenuity take off, climb to 16 feet (5 meters), perform a small translation (sideways move), and then land again. And while the results from a Flight 14 should be less than riveting, the significant increase in available rpms (from 2,537 to 2,700) for future helicopter operations will provide us the option to perform scouting missions for Perseverance at lower atmospheric densities. It also leaves some wiggle room if we decide an additional rpm increase is needed later.

A speed increase like this comes with a number of potential issues. One of these has to do with aerodynamics: A rotor speed of 2,800 rpm, in combination with wind and helicopter motion, could cause the tips of the rotor blades to encounter the air at nearly 0.8 Mach – that is, 80% of the speed of sound on Mars. (The speed of sound on Mars is somewhat lower than we are used to – about ¾ the speed of sound on Earth.) If the blade tips get sufficiently close to the speed of sound, they will experience a very large increase in aerodynamic drag that would be prohibitive for flight. For Ingenuity’s rotor we do not expect to encounter this phenomenon until even higher Mach numbers, but this has never been confirmed in testing on Earth.

Another potential issue is unknown resonances in the helicopter structure. Like all mechanical systems, Ingenuity has resonances that can lead to large vibrations when excited at particular frequencies. It is important to ensure that there are no significant resonances at the rotor speed used for flight, as this could cause damage to hardware and lead to a deterioration in sensor readings needed by the flight control system.

Additional demands will also be put on several components of Ingenuity’s design: The motors will need to spin faster, the electrical system will need to deliver more power, and the entire rotor system will need to withstand the higher loads that come with increased rotor speeds. It all adds up to a significant challenge, but by approaching the issue slowly and methodically, we hope to fully check out the system at higher rotor speeds and enable Ingenuity to keep flying in the months ahead. Stay tuned for updates.
 

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Update on the Ingenuity helicopter:

It’s been an eventful several Martian days, or sols, since our last blog post, so we wanted to provide everyone with an update on where things stand on Mars. In our last post, we explained that we were getting ready to begin flying with a higher rotor speed to compensate for decreasing atmospheric density caused by seasonal changes on Mars. Increasing the rotor speed is a significant change to how we’ve been flying thus far, so we wanted to proceed forward carefully. Step one was to perform a high-speed spin test at 2,800 rpm on the ground and, if everything went well, step two was to perform a short-duration flight, briefly hovering over our current location, with a 2,700 rpm rotor speed.


The high-speed spin test was completed successfully on Sept. 15, 2021 at 23:29 PDT, 11:11 LMST local Mars time (Sol 204 of the Perseverance mission). Ingenuity’s motors spun the rotors up to 2,800 rpm, briefly held that speed, and then spun the rotors back down to a stop, all exactly as sequenced for the test. All other subsystems performed flawlessly. Of particular interest was determining whether the higher rotor speeds cause resonances (vibrations) in Ingenuity’s structure. Resonances are a common challenge in aerial rotorcraft and can cause problems with sensing and control, and can also lead to mechanical damage. Fortunately, the data from this latest high-speed spin showed no resonances at the higher rotor rpm’s. The successful high-speed spin was an exciting achievement for Ingenuity and gave us the green light to proceed to a test flight with a 2,700 rpm rotor speed.


The test flight was scheduled to take place on Sept. 18, 2021 (Sol 206) and was supposed to be a brief hover flight at 16 feet (5 meters) altitude with a 2,700 rpm rotor speed. It turned out to be an uneventful flight, because Ingenuity decided to not take off. Here’s what happened: Ingenuity detected an anomaly in two of the small flight-control servo motors (or simply “servos”) during its automatic pre-flight checkout and did exactly what it was supposed to do: It canceled the flight.


Ingenuity controls its position and orientation during flight by adjusting the pitch of each of the four rotor blades as they spin around the mast. Blade pitch is adjusted through a swashplate mechanism, which is actuated by servos. Each rotor has its own independently controlled swashplate, and each swashplate is actuated by three servos, so Ingenuity has six servos in total. The servo motors are much smaller than the motors that spin the rotors, but they do a tremendous amount of work and are critical to stable, controlled flight. Because of their criticality, Ingenuity performs an automated check on the servos before every flight. This self-test drives the six servos through a sequence of steps over their range of motion and verifies that they reach their commanded positions after each step. We affectionately refer to the Ingenuity servo self-test as the “servo wiggle.”


The data from the anomalous pre-flight servo wiggle shows that two of the upper rotor swashplate servos – servos 1 and 2 – began to oscillate with an amplitude of approximately 1 degree about their commanded positions just after the second step of the sequence. Ingenuity’s software detected this oscillation and promptly canceled the self-test and flight.


Our team is still looking into the anomaly. To gather more data, we had Ingenuity execute additional servo wiggle tests during the past week, with one wiggle test on Sept. 21, 2021 (Sol 209) and one on Sept. 23, 2021 (Sol 211). Both of the wiggle tests ran successfully, so the issue isn’t entirely repeatable.


One theory for what’s happening is that moving parts in the servo gearboxes and swashplate linkages are beginning to show some wear now that Ingenuity has flown well over twice as many flights as originally planned (13 completed versus five planned). Wear in these moving parts would cause increased clearances and increased looseness, and could explain servo oscillation. Another theory is that the high-speed spin test left the upper rotor at a position that loads servos 1 and 2 in a unique, oscillation-inducing way that we haven’t encountered before. We have a number of tools available for working through the anomaly and we’re optimistic that we’ll get past it and back to flying again soon.


Our team will have a few weeks of time to complete our analysis because Mars will be in solar conjunction until mid-October, and we won’t be uplinking any command sequences to Ingenuity during that time. Conjunction is a special period in which Mars moves behind the Sun (as seen from Earth), making communications with spacecraft on Mars unreliable. Ingenuity will not be completely idle during this time, however; Ingenuity and Perseverance will be configured to keep each other company by communicating roughly once a week, with Ingenuity sending basic system health information to its base station on Perseverance. We will receive this data on Earth once we come out of conjunction, and will learn how Ingenuity performs over an extended period of relative inactivity on Mars. See you on the other side of conjunction!
 

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Update for flights 14 through 17:

Flight 14 Successful [dated Oct. 26]

The successful 14th flight of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took place shortly after 1:18 a.m. PDT Oct. 24 at Jezero Crater. As planned, the helicopter executed its first 2,700 rpm flight, proving that Ingenuity is capable of flying in the weeks and months ahead on Mars, during which seasonal changes on the surface will result in decreases in air density. The short 23-second flight included a peak altitude of 16 feet (5 meters) above ground level, with a small sideways translation of 7 feet (2 meters) to avoid a nearby sand ripple. This was also the first time Ingenuity recorded black-and-white navigation camera images at the high-rate of about seven frames a second.

Flight #15 - Start of the Return Journey [dated Nov. 5]

With conjunction over and our first flight at 2,700 RPM behind us, Ingenuity is ready to begin the journey back to the Wright Brothers Field at the Octavia E. Butler landing site, before venturing beyond. The above figure depicts the mission ahead of Ingenuity, which is to join Perseverance in the trek north along the east edge of Séítah, before traveling west to reach the Jezero ancient river delta. To accomplish this feat, the Ingenuity team is planning a series of 4-7 flights to return to Wright Brothers Field. Along the way the project is considering preparing a flight software upgrade for our helicopter which will potentially enable new navigation capabilities onboard, and better prepare Ingenuity for the challenges ahead.

Flight #15 is the start of our journey back to Wright Brothers Field. Taking place no earlier than Saturday, Nov. 6 at 9:22 a.m. PT, or 12:03 LMST (local Mars time), the 254th sol (Martian day) of the Perseverance mission, Flight #15 will return Ingenuity back to the Raised Ridges region, imaged in Flight #10. In this flight the helicopter will traverse 1,332 feet (406 meters) during 130 seconds of flight, travelling at 11.1 mph (5 mps) groundspeed. We’ll capture color return-to-earth (RTE) high resolution (13MP) images, one post-takeoff pointed to the SW, and nine pointed toward the NW along the flight-path. Nominal altitude for the flight is expected to be 39.3 feet (12 meters) above ground level.

This will be the second flight of Ingenuity during Mars’ summer low air-density, requiring that the rotor blades are spun at 2,700 RPM to compensate. This flight will generate critical high-RPM motor performance, which the team will use to design and tailor upcoming low-density flights in the months ahead.

Flight 16 – Short Hop to the North [dated Nov. 16]

With Flight 15, Ingenuity began the journey back towards “Wright Brothers Field” at “Octavia E. Butler Landing,” the site where Perseverance touched down with Ingenuity in February. This flight was performed with the recently-increased rotor speed of 2,700 rpm. After reviewing the data from Flight 15, the Ingenuity team is prepared to attempt our Flight 16 no earlier than Saturday, Nov. 20.

Flight 16 will be a shorter, 109-second flight. Ingenuity will climb up to 33 feet (10 meters), glide over the “Raised Ridges” at 3 mph (1.5 meters per second), then land near the edge of “South Séítah,” covering a distance of 380 feet (116 meters). We plan to capture a series of nine color Return-to-Earth (RTE) camera images evenly spaced throughout the flight, oriented to the southwest and opposite the flight path.

Flight 16 will set up Ingenuity for a Séítah crossing on Flight 17, getting us closer to the current goal of Wright Brothers Field. While waiting for the Perseverance rover to catch up after Flight 17, the Ingenuity team is considering performing a flight software update to enable new navigation capabilities and better prepare Ingenuity for future flights.

Flight 17 - Heading North Into Séítah [dated Dec. 2]

With Flight 17, Ingenuity continues its journey back to Wright Brothers Field at the Octavia E. Butler landing site. Flight 17 is the third flight of this journey and is scheduled to take place no earlier than Sunday, Dec. 5 with the data arriving back on Earth no earlier than later that same day.

Flight 17 is approximately half of Flight 9 in reverse, which was one of the most challenging flights for Ingenuity to date. The crossing of the "Séítah" region of Mars’ Jezero Crater will take at least two flights, with a stop halfway across. This stop is necessary for two reasons. Ingenuity’s reduced flight time, because of higher rotor RPMs, means that Ingenuity would need to fly faster to cover the same distance. Flying faster increases the navigation uncertainty built up during a flight, which means larger landing ellipses are required. By flying slower, Ingenuity can better target a landing site in South Séítah.

The second reason is that the terrain on the eastern side of South Séítah is more hazardous than the western side. During flight 9, we knew Ingenuity would have a larger uncertainty in the landing location, but that was acceptable since the area was relatively benign. This is not the case this time around. With two flights, Ingenuity can better target safe landing sites on the eastern side of Séítah, without excessive risk on landing.

During Flight 17, Ingenuity is expected to fly 187 meters at an altitude of 10 meters and be airborne for 117 seconds.
 

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’Ingenuity flew for the 17th time at Mars on Sunday, December 5. After the helicopter executed the planned 614-foot (187-meter) traverse to the northeast, the radio communications link between Ingenuity and the Perseverance Mars rover was disrupted during the final descent phase of the flight. Approximately 15 minutes later, Perseverance received several packets of additional Ingenuity telemetry indicating that the flight electronics and battery were healthy.
All available telemetry during and after the flight suggests that the activity was a success and that the loss of link was due to a challenging radio configuration between Perseverance and Ingenuity during landing. However, before planning our next flight, we need transfer the missing data from Flight 17 from helicopter to rover, and then to Earth, so we can confirm vehicle health.
Based on the telemetry we have, the vehicle performed nominally across the board during its 117-second flight 33 feet (10 meters) above the surface of Mars. The telemetry cut out during the final third of our descent, roughly 10 feet (3 meters) off the surface. Examining how radio links behave in relation to nearby surface features can help explain why the loss of link occurred near landing."
 

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Flight 18 was conducted on Dec. 15:

View: https://twitter.com/NASAJPL/status/1471887952317796353


The #MarsHelicopter keeps going, going, going! Ingenuity successfully completed its 18th flight, adding 124.3 seconds to its overall time aloft on the Red Planet. It flew 754 feet (230 meters) at a speed of 5.6 mph (2.5 m/sec) & took images along the way. http://go.nasa.gov/2U43zuH

Flight 19, coming up:

View: https://twitter.com/NASAJPL/status/1478758280205778945


It's time for more #MarsHelicopter flights! Ingenuity is gearing up for Flight 19 - the first one of 2022. The rotorcraft's path will carry it out of the South Séítah basin over a ridgeline & up onto a plateau. Flight 19 is set for no earlier than Jan. 7. http://go.nasa.gov/3eQcs27
 

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View: https://twitter.com/NASAJPL/status/1491117225335738370


After some dusty weather delays, it’s time to celebrate the #MarsHelicopter’s first flight of 2022! The rotorcraft flew for the 19th time on the Red Planet, soaring for 99.98 seconds over ~62 meters.
Mars helicopter Ingenuity aces 19th flight after historic Red Planet weather delay

The dust storm couldn't keep NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity grounded forever.

The 4-pound (1.8 kilograms) Ingenuity aced a 100-second sortie on Tuesday (Feb. 8 ), its 19th Red Planet flight overall but its first since Dec. 15.

The flight had originally been targeted for Jan. 5. But on New Year's Day, a big dust storm kicked up near the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater, which Ingenuity and its robotic partner, NASA's Perseverance rover, have been exploring since February 2021.

The Ingenuity team decided to stand down until the dust storm passed, making Ingenuity the first aircraft ever to have a flight delayed by inclement weather on another planet.
 

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View: https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1501256866353008651


At an #LPSC2022 media briefing, JPL’s Matt Golombek says that the Ingenuity helicopter shows no signs of degradation from nearly a year of operations on Mars; is is “good as new.” Adds that its performance is “rather remarkable” given extensive use of COTS components.


Ingenuity still “as good as new” after nearly a year on Mars

The information Ingenuity has provided has created some modest time savings for Perseverance. “It’s certainly shaved several sols, maybe a week, off of the time frame of the rover by having this advanced information,” said Matt Golombek, a senior research scientist at JPL who has been involved with Mars landers dating back to Mars Pathfinder, during a March 8 media briefing at the Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference. A sol is a Martian day, about 40 minutes longer than a terrestrial day.

Other scientists involved with Perseverance agreed that Ingenuity has been useful. “I was really impressed with how well it worked and how useful it’s been,” said Justin Simon, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center who works on the Perseverance mission, during a conference session March 7. “I don’t think that was fully anticipated, at least by myself.”

Keyron Hickman-Lewis of the U.K.’s Natural History Museum, another Perseverance scientist, said at that conference session that Ingenuity has been particularly helpful as Perseverance negotiated a region called Séítah. “The terrain is not optimal for a rover,” he said of the region. “These insights have been invaluable.”
 

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View: https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1501256866353008651


At an #LPSC2022 media briefing, JPL’s Matt Golombek says that the Ingenuity helicopter shows no signs of degradation from nearly a year of operations on Mars; is is “good as new.” Adds that its performance is “rather remarkable” given extensive use of COTS components.


Ingenuity still “as good as new” after nearly a year on Mars

The information Ingenuity has provided has created some modest time savings for Perseverance. “It’s certainly shaved several sols, maybe a week, off of the time frame of the rover by having this advanced information,” said Matt Golombek, a senior research scientist at JPL who has been involved with Mars landers dating back to Mars Pathfinder, during a March 8 media briefing at the Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference. A sol is a Martian day, about 40 minutes longer than a terrestrial day.

Other scientists involved with Perseverance agreed that Ingenuity has been useful. “I was really impressed with how well it worked and how useful it’s been,” said Justin Simon, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center who works on the Perseverance mission, during a conference session March 7. “I don’t think that was fully anticipated, at least by myself.”

Keyron Hickman-Lewis of the U.K.’s Natural History Museum, another Perseverance scientist, said at that conference session that Ingenuity has been particularly helpful as Perseverance negotiated a region called Séítah. “The terrain is not optimal for a rover,” he said of the region. “These insights have been invaluable.”

I cannot believe that Ingenuity has been on Mars for nearly a year and is still as good as new, I hope that means that Ingenuity can still perform missions for another year. :cool:
 

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#MarsHelicopter is breaking records again!
Ingenuity completed its 25th and most ambitious flight. It broke its distance and ground speed records, traveling 704 meters at 5.5 meters per second while flying for 161.3 seconds. http://go.nasa.gov/2U43zuH

View: https://twitter.com/NASAJPL/status/1514016381435482113

Good news for Ingenuity, let's hope that the 26th flight goes further and faster still.
 

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Another stunning set of images:

mars2020backshell2.jpg


 

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NASA’s Ingenuity in Contact With Perseverance Rover After Communications Dropout

On Thursday, May 5, mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory received confirmation that the agency’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter had re-established communications with the Perseverance rover. Earlier in the week, the rotorcraft had missed a planned communications session with the rover – for the first time in over a year of operations on the Mars surface. Ingenuity relies on Perseverance as the base station that enables it to send data to and receive commands from Earth. While more data downlinks and analysis are needed, the Ingenuity and Perseverance teams believe they have determined a cause of the anomaly as well as a plan to return to normal operations.

Ingenuity became the first powered aircraft to operate on another world on April 19, 2021. Designed to perform up to five experimental test flights over a span of 30 Martian days (sols), or close to 31 Earth days, the rotorcraft has flown over 4.2 miles (6.9 kilometers) across 28 sorties and operated from the surface of the Red Planet for over a year.

Data downlinked indicates that the communications dropout on May 3, Sol 427 of the Perseverance rover’s mission at Mars, was a result of the solar-powered helicopter entering a low-power state, potentially due to the seasonal increase in the amount of dust in the Martian atmosphere and lower temperatures as winter approaches. The dust diminishes the amount of sunlight hitting the solar array, reducing Ingenuity’s ability to recharge its six lithium-ion batteries. When the battery pack’s state of charge dropped below a lower limit, the helicopter’s field-programmable gate array (FPGA) was powered down.

The FPGA manages Ingenuity’s operational state, switching the other avionics elements on and off as needed to maximize power conservation. It also operates the heaters that enable the helicopter to survive frigid Martian nights, maintains precise spacecraft time, and controls when the helicopter is scheduled to wake up for communications sessions with Perseverance.

When the FPGA lost power during the Martian night, the helicopter’s onboard clock – which designates the time that communications with Perseverance occur – reset. And Ingenuity’s heaters, so vital to keeping electronics and other components within operational temperatures – turned off. When the Sun rose the next morning and the solar array began to charge the batteries, the helicopter’s clock was no longer in sync with the clock aboard the rover. Essentially, when Ingenuity thought it was time to contact Perseverance, the rover’s base station wasn’t listening.

To make sure Perseverance would hear a call, Perseverance mission controllers at JPL commanded the rover to spend almost all of Sol 429 (May 5) listening for the helicopter’s signal. It came at 11:45 a.m. local Mars time. The data transmitted was limited to deliberately preserve battery charge, but the helicopter’s critical health and safety data were nominal. The radio link between Ingenuity and Perseverance was stable, spacecraft temperatures were within expectation, the solar array was recharging the battery at a rate expected for this season, and the battery was healthy, containing 41% of a full charge.

But one radio communications session does not mean Ingenuity is out of the woods. The increased (light-reducing) dust in the air means charging the helicopter’s batteries to a level that will allow important components (like the clock and heaters) to remain energized throughout the night presents a significant challenge.

Each night for the past three sols, Ingenuity’s heaters have kicked in when its battery temperature was below 5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 15 degrees Celsius). While on, the heaters kept the temperature of vital helicopter components from dropping farther – down to the ambient environmental temperature of minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 80 degrees Celsius). But the team believes that the battery couldn’t sustain the energy draw of the onboard heaters throughout the night.

“We have always known that Martian winter and dust storm season would present new challenges for Ingenuity, specifically colder sols, an increase in atmospheric dust, and more frequent dust storms,” said Ingenuity Team Lead Teddy Tzanetos of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “Every flight and every mile of distance flown beyond our original 30-sol mission has pushed the spacecraft to its limits each and every sol on Mars.”

The Ingenuity and Perseverance teams have designed a plan they hope will make a difference. Their goal is to help the helicopter’s battery accumulate enough of a charge during the next few sols so that it could support all necessary spacecraft systems during the cold Martian night. Uplinked yesterday, the new commands lower the point at which the helicopter energizes its heaters from when the battery falls below 5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 15 degrees Celsius) to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees Celsius). The helicopter then shuts down quickly, rather than consuming the battery charge with the heaters. The team hopes this strategy will allow the battery to retain whatever charge it collected during the day. The Ingenuity engineers hope that after several days of the helicopter’s array soaking in the limited rays, the battery will have reached a point where the spacecraft can return to normal operations.

Allowing the heaters to remain off overnight will conserve significant battery energy but will also expose components to the cold of Martian night. Developed as a technology demonstration to prove that powered, controlled flight on Mars is possible, the 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) rotorcraft carries many commercial off-the-shelf parts that weren’t designed for the cold of deep space operations.

“Our top priority is to maintain communications with Ingenuity in the next few sols, but even then, we know that there will be significant challenges ahead,” said Tzanetos. “I could not be prouder of our team’s performance over the last year, let alone our aircraft’s incredible achievements on Mars. We are hopeful that we can accumulate battery charge in order to return to nominal operations and continue our mission into the weeks ahead.”

 

Flyaway

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How that supposed doorway on Mars is the latest example of pareidolia in spaceflight and astronomy.

 

FighterJock

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How that supposed doorway on Mars is the latest example of pareidolia in spaceflight and astronomy.


It's like the whole face on Mars debate all over again. Help! I cannot see the point of seeing certain shapes on Mars just because of the probes cameras back in the 1970s are not as good as modern cameras.
 

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