An error in navigation timing despatched NASA’s tiny helicopter to Mars on a wild and tottering experience, its first main downside because it hit the Martian skies final month.
The experimental helicopter, named Ingenuity, managed to land safely, officers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory stated Thursday.
The issue arose a couple of minute after the helicopter’s sixth check flight final Saturday at an altitude of 10 meters (33 ft). One of many quite a few pictures taken by an onboard digital camera didn’t register with the navigation system, inflicting the whole synchronization sequence to fade and the spacecraft to be confused about its location.
The craft started to tilt backwards and forwards as much as 20 levels and suffered energy consumption spikes, based on Havard Grip, the helicopter’s lead pilot.
An built-in system to supply a further margin for stability “got here to the rescue,” he wrote in a web based standing replace. The helicopter landed inside 16 ft (5 meters) of its meant touchdown web site.
Ingenuity turned the primary plane to carry out a powered flight on one other planet in April, two months after touchdown on Mars with NASA’s Perseverance rover.
The Four-pound (1.Eight-kilogram) helicopter made its first 5 flights, every more difficult than earlier than. NASA was so impressed with the $ 85 million expertise demonstration that it prolonged its mission by at the very least a month.
Saturday’s downside flight was the primary of this bonus interval. Engineers have spent the previous couple of days tackling the issue.