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NASA’s Mars helicopter has a fart in midair.



NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter ended its sixth flight test on Mars earlier than planned last week. After a crash during the flight The rotorcraft’s chief pilot wrote in a blog post Thursday. This tiny 4-pound helicopter aims to fly farther than any previous excursion. to test the ability to patrol science It’s the latest in an extended trial campaign to demonstrate a new mode of transport in another world.

Last Saturday, Ingenuity accelerated and rose 33 feet from the surface of Mars to travel a distance of about two football fields along a pre-programmed flight path while photographing “interesting areas”

; on Mars during its flight. fly As it flew at 9 mph at the end of the first 150 meters of its journey, a crash in the helicopter’s navigation unit suddenly put Ingenuity in midair.


Video from the Ingenuity navigation camera shows the wobble caused by the crash.
GIF: NASA/JPL

It was a “tense flight” for the little copter, chief pilot Håvard Grip said. “Ingenuity begins to adjust speed and tilt in a oscillating pattern,” shake what the Grip said it was. “Latent error” that causes “rotation and tilt of more than 20 degrees, large control inputs and a rapid increase in power consumption ”


The ingenuity arrived safely after a stressful flight.
GIF: NASA/JPL

The sensation of Ingenuity’s movement comes from two key parts of its internal computer. Which is stored in a body the size of a tissue box hanging under a twin propeller system. The first is an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that tracks the speed of a rotating propeller to calculate acceleration. which allows to estimate the speed midair position and position (relative to the starting point). The second instrument is a small monochrome camera facing the ground. This takes 30 frames per second to give the helicopter a visual representation of where it is. Follow the rocks and patterns on the ground as Ingenuity passes by. Those photos come with timestamps, so Ingenuity can accurately analyze movement over time.

All information converge in the helicopter’s navigation system to achieve balance and awareness. Ingenuity maneuverability occurs 54 seconds in flight when one of the black and white navigation images randomly disappears. This corrupts the image pipeline and renders the timestamps of all subsequent images invalid. It operates on the basis of incorrect information about the shooting time,” Grip explains.

Corrupted navigation data led Ingenuity to mistakenly believe that there were several flight errors. This prompted a violent attempt to self-correct before the safety system began to lead a peaceful return to the ground.

even with a mistake But ingenuity captured this west-facing image 33 feet above the planned Martian surface.
Image: NASA/JPL

The ingenuity landed safely about 16 feet from the intended touchdown point. This is partly because the helicopter’s navigation unit is designed to ignore navigational images during the landing process. As the aircraft approaches an altitude of approximately 3 feet, relying solely on data from the IMU, none of the images have a timestamp that caused the crash to affect Ingenuity’s landing. no instability including timing errors,” Grip said.

The helicopter arrived at Red Planet, attached to the underbelly of NASA’s Perseverance rover, which landed at Mars’ Jezero Crater, a barren lake bottom, on Feb. 18. Efforts to deploy Ingenuity on the Martian surface when April 4, allowing it to make its first flight in another world on April 19 after its fourth flight. Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California have chosen to expand Ingenuity’s flight campaign, impressed with the helicopter’s stability and performance.

A JPL spokesman said engineers were reviewing data from Ingenuity’s sixth flight and did not yet know when the seventh flight would take place.


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