The planet Mars will once again see Ingenuity fly through its air.
Ingenuity, the small flying helicopter of JPL, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a sub-branch of NASA will resume service. He who had been propelled to the red planet at the same time as Perseverance, last February. Activated a few months after its arrival, the small drone was the first flying object to take off from a planet other than Earth.
After a period of “silence”, NASA announces that a 14th flight has just been scheduled on the helicopter’s schedule. He, who was originally supposed to make only one flight to multiply the experiences. According to JPL announcements, “the Martian helicopter can attempt flight 14. It has carried out a rotation test at 50 rpm, and will be able to make a flight no earlier than October 23”.
Why Ingenuity was “dormant”
Every two years, the Earth, as well as our red neighbor, is found on either side of the Sun. It is then very complicated to communicate from one planet to another, the Sun blocking exchanges. The communications, if they reach Mars could be different and gave different information to the two robots.
But, the mission did not stop so far, NASA had given “homework” to these robots. Ingenuity was thus to stay approximately 175 meters away from the base rover, Perseverance, and give it a full report on its condition every week.
Perseverance: continuation and end of the mission
For its part, the Perseverance rover continues its exploration of our red neighbor, the little robot (big as a car anyway) has just proved that it has landed on an old lake. According to analyzes, the water has left traces of sedimentation on the red planet, betraying its presence even today.
Another major point of the mission that should occupy Perseverance for the next few months: it is its collection of Martian rocks. The NASA rover is expected to collect samples in small, sterile test tubes before another US agency rover comes to collect them, years away. The latter will then be the subject of numerous studies carried out with the very powerful instruments available to researchers here on Earth.