NASA stopped the flights of the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars

The brave NASA Ingenuity helicopter temporarily stops flying under the Martian sky. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which manages the mission, said it had decided to stop Ingenuity work for a while to give the helicopter’s solar panels a break during the dust storms rising around it.

Seasonal dust storms are a serious problem for Martian spacecraft, as they significantly reduce the amount of sunlight falling on the panels, which makes charging the battery almost impossible. Ingenuity is no exception here.

Dusty solar panels of the helicopter. Photo: NASA

“The team decided to give the helicopter’s batteries a break for a few weeks and restore their daily charge level until the storm subsides. If the weather permits, the device will take to the air again in early August,” the JPL publication says.

Ingenuity Records

The award-winning Ingenuity helicopter made history in April 2021, when it became the first aircraft to make a controlled flight on another planet. Since then, the drone has conducted 28 more flights, the last of which took place on June 11, 2022.

With a height of 49 cm and a weight of 2 kg, the helicopter was able to overcome a record distance in the air above the surface of Mars — 709 m. This flight was also the fastest — 20 km/h. The long continuous flight time of the drone today is 169.5 seconds.

Animation of the operation of Ingenuity rotors

At first, JPL planned to use the helicopter for only five flights. But the flying machine quickly exceeded expectations, which inspired the team to send it on more complex flights, as well as use a helicopter to help the Perseverance ground rover plan the most efficient routes on the surface of Mars. For this purpose, the device photographed the terrain from a height of 10 m and transmitted the images to the rover team, which then used them to plan the safest and fastest routes.

Ingenuity has performed so well that NASA is going to create more advanced flying machines for future missions to Mars and possibly to other planets.

Recall that Ingenuity will receive an update to continue flights.

According to NASA

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