NASA is making an attempt to determine learn how to attain its Ingenuity Mars helicopter after dropping contact with the craft earlier this week. Throughout its 72nd flight — a “fast pop-up” to an altitude of about 40 toes — NASA says Ingenuity stopped speaking with the Perseverance rover earlier than it was meant to. It went quiet on Thursday, and as of Friday afternoon, NASA nonetheless hadn’t heard from it.
Perseverance serves the go-between for all communications to and from the helicopter; Ingenuity sends data to Perseverance, which then passes it on to Earth, and vice versa. In keeping with NASA, the small helicopter accomplished the ascent as deliberate, however ceased communications whereas on its manner again down. “The Ingenuity group is analyzing obtainable knowledge and contemplating subsequent steps to reestablish communications with the helicopter,” NASA mentioned in a standing replace on Friday. Ingenuity had beforehand ended a flight sooner than it was speculated to, and Thursday’s jaunt was meant to “try the helicopter’s techniques.”
Ingenuity has been on the purple planet since 2021, when it arrived with the Perseverance rover. And it’s far exceeded its mission targets. NASA initially hoped the experimental helicopter would have the ability to full a handful of flights. It went on to fly greater than 20 occasions inside its first yr in operation. The area company formally prolonged its mission in 2022, and it’s since executed dozens extra extra profitable flights. Ingenuity is the primary plane to take flight from the floor of Mars.