Press "Enter" to skip to content

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Goes on Vacation

In this illustration, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter stands on the Red Planet’s surface as NASA’s Perseverance rover (partially visible on the left) rolls away. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Postpones Flights Until August

It’s now dust season and winter in the area on MarsMars is the second smallest planet in our solar system and the fourth planet from the sun. It is a dusty, cold, desert world with a very thin atmosphere. Iron oxide is prevalent in Mars' surface resulting in its reddish color and its nickname "The Red Planet." Mars' name comes from the Roman god of war.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>Mars where NASAEstablished in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity." Its core values are "safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion."” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is located. This means there’s more dust in the air and less sunlight available to help recharge Ingenuity’s batteries. Dust levels are predicted to subside later in July, so the team has decided to give the helicopter’s batteries a break for a few weeks in order to build their daily state of charge back up. Depending on weather conditions, Ingenuity is expected to be back in the air around the start of August.

NASA Ingenuity Helicopter on Mars Illustration

Illustration of NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

As recently explained, the winter season on Mars is especially difficult on batteries. One big component of this is the shorter days, meaning less sunlight available for the solar cells used to recharge the batteries. (Excess dust in the air makes this even worse.) However, another big issue is the cold weather when overnight temperatures can drop down to minus 112 °F (minus 80 °C). At low temperatures, batteries do not perform as well. The cold also necessitates the use of a battery draining heater to protect electronics from the damaging effects of cold cycling.

Source: SciTechDaily