Ingenuity gets in touch after two months of radio silence

The Ingenuity Martian drone helicopter contacted Earth after a 63-day radio silence. In the coming weeks, the mission’s specialists intend to resume its flights. 

Ingenuity helicopter drone. The picture was taken on April 16, 2023. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

On April 26, Ingenuity took to the skies of the Red Planet for the 52nd time. During the new flight, the drone had to overcome 363 meters. However, on that day, NASA did not find out whether it was a success. The fact is that at the time of landing, the MCC lost contact with the spacecraft.

The loss of communication did not come as a complete surprise to the mission specialists. Ingenuity maintains contact with Earth through the Perseverance rover, which acts as a repeater. Since there was a hill between the landing site of the drone and the rover, experts assumed that it could block the communication process between the vehicles.

Therefore, when Ingenuity did not get in touch after the flight was completed, the engineers began to wait for Perseverance to be in the Ingenuity visibility zone again. It took them 63 days to do this. On June 28, Perseverance climbed to the top of the hill, after which NASA managed to resume contact with the drone.

Preliminary analysis of telemetry has shown that Ingenuity is in good technical condition. If further checks do not reveal any problems, its new flight will take place within the next few weeks. Engineers plan to move Ingenuity to the site of open rocks, which Perseverance will have to study in the future.

It is worth noting that Perseverance and Ingenuity are currently moving over rough terrain. Therefore, experts do not exclude the possibility of new communication interruptions.

According to

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