Mars helicopter Ingenuity misses takeoff for 4th flight on Red Planet


NASA’s team is assessing what happened.

Jeudi 29 avril 2021 ((–NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity was supposed to get a real workout this morning (April 29), but things didn’t go as planned.

The 4-lb. (1.8 kilograms) chopper was scheduled to lift off from the floor of Mars’ Jezero Crater today around 10:12 a.m. EDT (1412 GMT), kicking off its fourth flight on the Red Planet. That didn’t happen.

« Aim high, and fly, fly again. The #MarsHelicopter’s ambitious fourth flight didn’t get off the ground, but the team is assessing the data and will aim to try again soon. We’ll keep you posted, » NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which manages Ingenuity’s technology-demonstrating mission, said via Twitter today

Ingenuity also had a hiccup in the leadup to its first flight attempt, failing to transition to flight mode as planned. In response, the helicopter team altered the command sequence beamed from Earth — a fix that allowed Ingenuity to fly on Mars for the first time on April 19.

Tests here on Earth suggested that fix would be effective about 85% of the time, Ingenuity team members said. It’s possible that the same issue cropped up today, and the latest attempt just fell into the unlucky 15% slot. But we’ll have to wait until Ingenuity’s handlers have performed the requisite analyses to find out more.

Ingenuity landed with NASA’s Perseverance rover on Feb. 18 inside the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero, which hosted a big lake and a river delta in the ancient past.

Ingenuity deployed from Perseverance’s belly on April 3 and began prepping for its flight campaign, which is designed to show that aerial exploration is possible on Mars.

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