NASA Postpones Mars Ingenuity Helicopter’s Fourth Flight Due to Software Glitch

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NASA’s Mars Ingenuity helicopter missed its fourth scheduled flight on Thursday, with the area company blaming a software program glitch and vowing to attempt once more the following day.

“The helicopter is safe and in good health,” stated a statement, including the rotorcraft had failed to transition to “flight mode.” 

The staff plans to try the flight as soon as extra on Friday at 10:46am Eastern Time (8:16pm IST) with knowledge anticipated again at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory round three hours later.

The software program situation is believed to be the identical one which delayed Ingenuity’s maiden voyage, the primary powered flight on one other planet. Initially scheduled for April 11, the historic feat occurred April 19.

The cause was a glitch related to the plane’s “watchdog timer,” which alerts Ingenuity to potential issues and pauses its processes if it thinks it has detected an error.

Engineers made a coding tweak that allowed Ingenuity to overcome the issue and transition to flight mode accurately – however estimated there was a 15 p.c probability it will not work on every flight try.

“Today’s delay is in line with that expectation and does not prevent future flight,” NASA stated.

Since reaching Mars in February below the stomach of the Perseverance rover, the four-pound (1.8 kilograms) helicopter has made three profitable flights.

The final, which passed off Sunday, noticed it transfer sooner and additional than ever earlier than, with a peak pace of 6.6 toes (two metres) per second. It coated 64 toes (50 metres) of distance.

Ingenuity’s flights are difficult due to circumstances vastly totally different from Earth’s – foremost amongst them a rarefied ambiance that has lower than one p.c the density of our personal and means it has to spin its rotors at 2,400 revolutions per minute.

The Ingenuity know-how demonstration will finish in early May to enable the Perseverance rover to return to its fundamental process: trying to find indicators of previous microbial life on Mars.


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