The Mars helicopter has only been communicating with NASA scientists intermittently for the past few days, making it difficult for the Ingenuity team to perform another flight.
The helicopter was only supposed to fly five times. Still, it has already surpassed the parameters of this first mission, taking to the skies for the 50th time in April.
It recently made its 51st flight, but according to the NASA team, this flight almost failed.
Because the communication of the team with the helicopter was cut off for 6 days.
The communication interruption occurred on the helicopter’s 755th day on the planet in Martian time.
NASA researchers didn’t care too much about this interruption at first. Because the energy of the solar-powered helicopter can drop from time to time when it does not get enough light.
However, it soon became clear that this time the cut was different and more severe.
“Over the 700+ days the helicopter has been operating on Mars, we haven’t had a single complete radio outage,” said Travis Brown, Ingenuity’s Chief Engineer.
However, at the end of the 6th day, the signal was received.
According to the researchers, the reason for the signal interruption is due to the nature of the terrain between Perseverance and Ingenuity.
Ingenuity arrived on Mars in 2021 in the abdomen of NASA’s Perseverance spacecraft.
The helicopter, which later left the vehicle, still communicates with Earth through it.
While the spacecraft is traveling in the Martian terrain, the helicopter continues to collect data by continuing its flights.
According to the team, there has been a recent ridge between the helicopter and Perseverance. This caused the helicopter’s communication signals to fail to reach Perseverance.
Later, when the spacecraft approaches the helicopter again, the signals are thought to be able to reach again.