Lost Martian Helicopter Ingenuity Regains Communication

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The Martian helicopter Ingenuity, which had been silent for over two months, reestablished communication with NASA’s mission control on June 28th through the rover Perseverance. This marks the first contact since April 26th, when the 1.8-kilogram helicopter ceased transmitting data after its 52nd flight in the Jezero Crater.

Photo taken by helicopter during the 51st sortie on 23 April. Image Source: NASA

According to representatives from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the area in the crater where the rover Perseverance and the helicopter Ingenuity are exploring has a rough terrain that can cause radio interference. Engineers believe the issue was due to a high hill that obstructed the line of sight between the helicopter and the rover.

Ingenuity’s original goal was to stay ahead of Perseverance, which sometimes takes it beyond the range of stable communication. Scientists expressed their delight at confirming the successful completion of the 52nd flight, during which the helicopter covered 363 meters in 139 seconds. The primary objective of the flight was to change the helicopter’s position and capture more photos for the research team.

Telemetry data indicates that the helicopter remains in good condition, and pending further checks, it is expected to undertake another flight in the coming weeks.

As a reminder, Perseverance and Ingenuity landed on Mars in February 2021, and shortly after, the helicopter completed its first mission consisting of five flights to demonstrate the feasibility of aerial exploration in the thin Martian atmosphere. Since then, the helicopter has been conducting regular reconnaissance flights, serving as a scout for Perseverance.

All communication with Ingenuity is facilitated through Perseverance, which acts as a relay to transmit data back and forth to Earth. This is not the first time Ingenuity has experienced communication disruptions, as it went silent for six days in early April.

Author Profile

Vasyl Kolomiiets
Vasyl Kolomiiets
I'm Vasyl Kolomiiets, a seasoned tech journalist regularly contributing to global publications. Having a profound background in information technologies, I seamlessly blended my technical expertise with my passion for writing, venturing into technology journalism. I've covered a wide range of topics including cutting-edge developments and their impacts on society, contributing to leading tech platforms.

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