NASA’s Ingenuity gears up for its 19th flight – and it’s a tricky take-off

NASA’s Ingenuity gears up for its 19th flight – and it’s a tricky take-off

The adventurous little helicopter checking out Mars, NASA’s Resourcefulness, has actually surpassed all expectations and has actually lasted longer than even the most positive forecasts. Initially developed for as much as 5 flights, the helicopter is now preparing for its 19 th flight, which will be its very first of2022 This flight will not be simple, particularly provided the difficult liftoff it will have to carry out.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

The 19 th flight is arranged to occur today, Friday, January 7, and it will follow a path from the helicopter’s present place in the South Séítah basin, over a ridge, and up onto a plateau. This resembles a path the helicopter has actually flown formerly, as it is presently backtracking its actions, however taking a trip in the opposite instructions. Resourcefulness is heading back towards its initial release website where it and the Determination rover landed.

Nevertheless, in spite of having actually traveled this path previously, this flight will be hard. According to NASA, the helicopter is presently being in “featureless sandy surface.” And while that’s excellent in some methods– it makes it much easier to land when there aren’t any rocks to evade– it makes it harder to remove. That is because of the method the helicopter’s navigation system works.

How the helicopter browses throughout Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech

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NASA/JPL-Caltech

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NASA/JPL-Caltech

The navigation system utilizes a downward-facing video camera on the helicopter to image the ground listed below and utilizes these images to develop a map of the surface area. The system can then direct the helicopter to prevent challenges like big rocks.

However in this case, when the helicopter is resting on what might be thought about a blank canvas, it indicates the navigation system will have a tough time differentiating any functions on the ground. This triggered some problems when the helicopter arrived on its previous flight, and engineers are bewaring to guarantee it does not trigger anymore issues on the next flight.

“[T] he location is really so without rock that cautions were reported throughout Flight18landing due to inadequate functions to track in the vision navigation,” Martin Cacan, Resourcefulness Pilot at the Jet Propulsion Lab, composed in a NASA article” As an outcome, fault security criteria will be upgraded to reduce the danger of an early landing mid-ascent.”.

Engineers anticipate that the 19 th flight will last about 100 seconds, and the helicopter will take a trip at around 1 meter per second. It will cover 63 meters (206 feet) and struck an elevation of 10 meters (33 feet), as soon as again snapping pictures as it goes.

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