Two days after losing contact with the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, NASA announced that it had regained contact with its Martian chopper. On January 18, the American space agency announced that it lost contact with its Mars rotorcraft after sending it on a “quick pop-up vertical flight.”
The vertical flight was to test the systems of the chopper after an unplanned early landing during its last flight, the agency wrote in a status update on Friday night. NASA designed the Perseverance rover to transmit data between the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter and ground control on Earth during the flight.
NASA noted that the data obtained from Perseverance showed that Ingenuity ascended to its assigned maximum altitude of about 40 feet. However, during its descent, the chopper and rover stopped communicating with each other.
How NASA restored communication contact with its Ingenuity Mars Helicopter
On Saturday, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced that it had re-established contact with its Helicopter after instructing the rover “to perform long-duration listening sessions for Ingenuity’s signal,” the agency wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter).
The ground control team handling the operation of Ingenuity Mars Helicopter noted that they are studying the newly obtained data to learn how the unexpected communication contact was cut off during the chopper’s 72nd flight on Mars. The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has already surpassed its original mission timeline since the spring of 2021.
Hence, it has proven to be powerful enough to continue the newly assigned tasks, years after accomplishing its original five missions on Mars. Despite the thin and hostile Martian atmosphere, the Helicopter has continued to make successful 72nd flights on Mars.
Its ability to survive this long on Mars has inspired NASA and other space agencies to work on developing other advanced helicopters to explore Mars and other space worlds in the future. As for Ingenuity, NASA’s scientists and engineers will provide a workable strategy to keep the rover operating on Mars and not lose contact with it for a longer period.