1st flight test for NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter pushed to Wednesday

NASA engineers have decided to hold off the Ingenuity helicopter’s debut flight on Mars to at minimum Wednesday, April 14th, right after working into a slight personal computer glitch through a rotor spin test late Friday evening, the agency claimed on Saturday. The very small craft is balanced, but engineers will need some additional time to review telemetry data from the unforeseen hiccup in advance of proceeding.

Ingenuity, a mini 4-pound helicopter that arrived on Mars February 18th hooked up to NASA’s Perseverance rover, was originally slated to have out its initially flight take a look at late Sunday night time (or, mid-working day Mars time). The to start with bits of information on whether the flight attempt was productive was envisioned to appear early Monday early morning, about 4AM ET.

But knowledge from a large-speed rotor test carried out on Friday showed the check sequence “ended early because of to a ‘watchdog’ timer expiration,” NASA explained. It occurred as Ingenuity’s personal computer was striving to switch from pre-flight mode to flight method.

Ingenuity’s “watchdog timer” is just that — a software program-centered watchdog that oversees the helicopter’s examination sequences and alerts engineers if anything seems to be abnormal. “It assists the system continue to be harmless by not proceeding if an situation is noticed and labored as planned,” NASA claimed in a web site post.

NASA emphasised the craft is healthy, and Ingenuity is continue to in excellent get in touch with with engineers at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

Ingenuity was deployed by Perseverance on the Martian area on April 4th, kicking off a 31-working day clock in which five flight tests are prepared. For its to start with flight demonstration, the helicopter will ascend 10 toes over the surface and hover for about 30 seconds, aiming to achieve the initial-ever powered flight on one more environment. Based how the very first examination goes, subsequent tests will require Ingenuity soaring to higher altitudes and buzzing all over within just its functioning track-shaped flight zone at Mars’ Jezero Crater.