CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A navigation timing error has sent NASA’s small Mars helicopter on a winding, wild path. This is the first major problem since going into the Martian skies last month.
An experimental helicopter called Ingenuity managed to land safely. Jet Propulsion Laboratory officials reported Thursday.
The problem came about a minute into the helicopter’s sixth test flight last Saturday at an altitude of 33 feet. One of the many photographs taken by the on-board camera was not registered in the navigation system. run out of time and confuses the ship about its location.
Havard Grip, the helicopter̵7;s chief pilot, said the ingenuity had begun to tilt up to 20 degrees and was experiencing power wastage.
Built-in system that adds extra margins for stability. “Come to the rescue,” he wrote in an online status update. The helicopter landed within 16 feet of the intended touchdown point.
The ingenuity became the first plane to fly on another planet in April. Two months after landing on Mars with NASA’s Perseverance rover.
The 4-pound (1.8 kg) helicopter performed the first five flights. Each flight was more challenging than ever. NASA was impressed with an $85 million technology demonstration that extended the mission by at least a month.
The flight in question on Saturday is the first flight for this bonus period. Engineers have spent the past several days solving the problem.