NASA announced, this weekend, the postponement of the first flight of the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars. The robot would fly yesterday (11), but due to technical problems the test was postponed until next Wednesday (14).
The North American Space Agency explained that on Friday (9), during tests of rotations in high rotation of the rotors, the timer ended up expiring earlier than expected. Called a “watchdog”, this timer monitors the sequence of commands and alerts you to potential problems with the drone.
“This (the problem) occurred when he (Ingenuity) was trying to transition the flight computer from‘ pre-flight ’mode to‘ flight ’mode. The helicopter is safe, healthy and has communicated its telemetry to Earth, ”argued NASA.
The procedures are being reviewed by the technical team and the entire flight test will be rescheduled. The agency pointed out that the robot is expected to make its first air travel no later than Wednesday.
Before the technical failure, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) released images of the rotation of the Ingenuity propellers. According to the experts, the blades of the drone reached 50 rpm in the tests. The low-resolution video was released on JPL’s Twitter last Friday.
The first test will be carried out in a region called Van Zyl Overlook, which will provide a good view of the aerodrome that was chosen by the Mars Mission team. In all, there will be 5 flights, with this initial.
The idea of JPL is to verify the equipment’s ability to carry out air travel in Martian territory. In addition, the United States Space Agency intends to capture photos, sounds and videos of the Red Planet. The records will be unpublished for world science, since much of the environment on Mars is still a mystery to researchers.
The event is purely conceptual and, if successful, will provide an excellent perspective for future missions. A good performance from Ingenuity can define new drone designs to explore Mars even more.