Mars Helicopter Taking a Break Due to Communications Issue

Mars Helicopter Taking a Break Due to Communications Issue

The Mars helicopter Ingenuity can be taking a break for a few days whereas NASA engineers work out the small print of a communications challenge between the helicopter and its rover companion Perseverance.

After Ingenuity’s seventeenth flight on Sunday, December 5, there was a disruption within the radio hyperlink between the helicopter and the rover. The challenge occurred throughout Ingenuity’s touchdown section, which meant the crew didn’t know if the helicopter landed safely and so they weren’t in a position to get photographs from the flight.

However, fifteen minutes later the rover did obtain affirmation that the helicopter was wholesome. NASA engineers analyzed the telemetry information out there and located that the issue was with the radio hyperlink between the 2 due to points with line of sight between them. The flight had been deliberate with the belief Perseverance can be in a explicit location and orientation, however the plans for the rover modified so it was positioned some other place. It was this distinction in distance between the 2 which prompted the interruption in radio communications.

In an interview, a member of the Ingenuity crew confirmed that there had been a problem, however it shouldn’t be insurmountable. “Eventually, one way or another, we will get much better communications, so it’s just a question of when are we going to try again,” Teddy Tzanetos, Ingenuity program lead, mentioned in an interview with UPI. “Basically we have discovered the limits of Ingenuity’s off-the-shelf 900-megahertz radio link.”

In an replace on the official Ingenuity weblog posted this week, Tzanetos mentioned that extra data from Ingenuity had been acquired by Perseverance. “The limited data that was received indicates power aboard the rotorcraft is excellent, which suggests it is in an upright stance, allowing its solar array to efficiently power its six lithium-ion batteries,” he wrote. “However, the same line-of-sight issues the team believes impeded communications at the end of Flight 17 still prevented the majority of data packets (including imagery from the flight) to be relayed back to the rover – and then to Earth.”

The crew is now ready for a possibility to switch this information from the earlier flight, which it thinks will occur within the subsequent few days.

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