Ingenuity’s Mars helicopter is in trouble. Some foreign media even report that his days are slowly but surely coming to an end.
NASA announcedthat her Jet Propulsion Laboratory lost contact with the helicopter last week. The cause was the amount of dust deposited on its solar panels.
Among other things, the Ingenuity was temporarily unable to communicate with the Perservance rover. Experts therefore decided to turn off Perservance for one day so that it could better “tune in” to the helicopter’s signal, which restarted as soon as the Sun rose on the red planet.
Another downtime can be fatal
This solution worked, but – like NASA she noted on his blog – “one radio communication does not mean that the Ingenuity is behind the water”.
During the Martian winter, dust accumulation becomes an even bigger problem. If it is necessary to restart again, the helicopter will not be able to warm up so easily in low temperatures.
To prevent further outages, NASA has proposed a plan that will allow Ingenuity to accumulate energy when the Sun is in the sky and consume less energy after its sunset – by lowering the threshold to turn on the heating. However, the question is how well it will work.