NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity simply snapped a photograph of its Crimson Planet companion.
Ingenuity captured a picture of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Aug. 3, through the 4-pound (1.8 kilograms) chopper’s 54th Mars flight.
Perseverance is sort of out of body on the high of the photograph, which Ingenuity took when it was about 16 toes (5 meters) above the pink filth.
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In contrast to earlier sorties, the Aug. 3 flight wasn’t a scouting run to help Perseverance’s science actions. It lasted simply 24 seconds, reached a most altitude of 16 toes and lined no floor laterally, in response to Ingenuity’s flight log.
The mission workforce designed this brief and easy hop in an try to assist perceive what occurred throughout Ingenuity’s earlier flight, which was minimize brief unexpectedly.
That July 22 sortie was presupposed to final 136 seconds and have a number of difficult maneuvers. Nevertheless, Ingenuity stayed aloft for simply 74 seconds, touching down after one thing triggered its “flight-contingency program.”
“For the reason that very first flight, we’ve included a program known as ‘LAND_NOW’ that was designed to place the helicopter on the floor as quickly as attainable if anybody of some dozen off-nominal situations was encountered,” Teddy Tzanetos, Ingenuity workforce lead emeritus at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, mentioned in a press release.
“Throughout Flight 53, we encountered one in every of these, and the helicopter labored as deliberate and executed an instantaneous touchdown,” Tzanetos added.
Flight 53, by the way in which, was the primary hop for Ingenuity in practically three months. The little drone was floor certain for therefore lengthy as a result of tough terrain on the ground of Mars’ Jezero Crater blocked its communications with Perseverance. (All instructions to, and knowledge relays from, Ingenuity are routed via the rover.)
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Tzanetos and his colleagues suppose they know what triggered LAND_NOW: Imagery from Ingenuity’s navigation digital camera seemingly bought out of sync with its inertial measurement unit, which helps the little chopper decide its place, pace and orientation.
This additionally occurred close to the top of Ingenuity’s sixth flight, again in Might 2021. The mission workforce quickly uploaded a software program patch to cope with the difficulty, however that patch apparently could not deal with what occurred on Flight 53, NASA officers mentioned within the assertion.
“Whereas we hoped to by no means set off a LAND_NOW, this flight is a helpful case examine that may profit future plane working on different worlds,” Tzanetos mentioned. “The workforce is working to higher perceive what occurred in Flight 53, and with Flight 54’s success, we’re assured that our child is able to maintain hovering forward on Mars.”
Ingenuity and Perseverance landed collectively on Jezero’s flooring in February 2021. The helicopter shortly aced its main mission, a five-flight expertise demonstration. It then moved on to an prolonged mission, throughout which it is performing reconnaissance for the Perseverance workforce.
This is not the primary time that such scouting work has resulted in a photograph of Perseverance. For instance, the rover made it into body throughout Ingenuity’s 51st flight, which occurred on April 22.