Since April, Ingenuity has demonstrated its flight capabilities on Mars. After successfully completing its seventh flight in early June, NASA’s Martian helicopter prepares to continue its exploration mission with a new flight.
Through Twitter, NASA explains that Ingenuity will cover a distance of 160 meters south of its current location. The objective is to get the helicopter to land at a new location, while continuing to test its abilities.
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According to information provided by the NASA team responsible for the Mars mission, Ingenuity traveled a distance of 106 meters, facing south, in its previous flight, completing the mission in 62.8 seconds.
In late May, an unexpected anomaly gave the Ingenuity team a “scarre” during the sixth test flight. The helicopter managed to complete the first part of the flight test without any problems, however, it then began to adjust its speed and to oscillate unexpectedly.
The sudden oscillation was caused by a flaw in the image capture system, which meant that all photos taken by Ingenuity were saved with the wrong date. The navigation algorithm started to be “fed” with incorrect information, leading to oscillations and a series of inconsistencies, such as peaks in the level of consumed energy, as the system tried to correct the errors.
Despite the anomaly, Ingenuity persisted and was able to remain aloft throughout the test. The helicopter landed safely about 5 meters from the test site. One of the aspects that ended up “saving” the mission was the very design of the helicopter’s control system, which was conceived to have what NASA calls a “stability margin”, allowing it to deal with certain errors like the one that occurred. .
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