NASA planned to fly the first Ingenuity mini helicopter on Mars on Sunday (11). But an anomaly during the high-performance test of the rotors – the last one before launch – caused the US space agency to push until the 14th. And now the determination that the solution would involve a change to the on-board software left the attempt without a date.
Nothing too surprising; Virtually everything about Ingenuity’s mission is new. Developed as a last-minute add-on to the Perseverance rover on the red planet, it cost $ 85 million – a change from $ 2.8 billion for the main vehicle. But with the promise of a historic achievement: the first self-sustaining aerodynamic flight in another world.
The engineering team performed a workaround analysis and concluded that the software in Ingenuity needs to be changed and reinstalled. A process that in itself is not fast as it depends on Earth orbiters, orbiters-perseverance and perseverance-ingenuity connections until it can transmit the data packet to its destination. Then install it and restart the on-board computer with it before you can try again.
According to the agency, this will require “multiple suns”, the name given to the Mars days (slightly larger than terrestrial, at 24h39min), and a new attempt will not come until next week.
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