Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, first of a kind in outer space
Ingenuity is the first Helicopter and an example of technology to test a flight on Mars planet. It is a part of NASA’s (National Aeronautical Space Administration) Perseverance rover mission. It has been sent to the Mars surface for 30 days time as part of a test flight program. It aims to explain the aerial imaging skills by capturing stereo photographs of the region. Technically, the downward-looking camera clicks around 30 images of Martian’s surface every second.
Why did Ingenuity go into a wild ride?
Ingenuity has so far taken six flight sessions and made a remarkable journey so far. However, the problem has begun after it has entered its sixth flight test which revealed a flaw with the camera-based navigation system. As a result, it made the helicopter oscillate to and fro as much as 20 degrees and faced power depletion spikes, one of the biggest technological problems it has encountered so far, shared Havard Grip, the helicopter’s chief pilot in a blog. The technical error has further revealed that one of the many images clicked by the onboard navigation camera system was lost. Further, the same error Cause inaccurate time stamps (details) in the following images. It further created chaos about the flight location.
How Ingenuity stood strong amidst confusion?
The ‘stability margin’ of the helicopter’s flight control system is one of the primary reasons that Ingenuity stood strong amidst the confusion and landed within 16 feet of the planned location. This allowed the flight system to maintain important glitches without the need to become unsteady.
The second is the navigation camera that stopped clicking photographs during the final stage of the landing to have a steady estimate of the helicopter movement during this dangerous situation. This further helped in stopping the to and fro movement stabled its attitude and landed on the surface at a controlled speed. In addition, the power system, actuators, and rotor system have also played a very important role in addressing the numerous demands to keep the flight in motion.
In real-time, the helicopter has gone through a wild situation and the test flight has discovered a timing threat which now has to be taken care of and as well this has shown the world about its strength in numerous ways. Though such a painful test has not been expected, NASA is now analyzing the flight data to understand the phenomenon and plan a system to further build a knowledge base on flying helicopters in outer space.