The Ingenuity helicopter's 14th flight did not push through as planned, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
This is due to an anomaly detected by NASA's Mars helicopter in two of its small flight-control servo motors. The Ingenuity has a total of six servo motors.
Scientists still are not sure what caused the anomaly as of press time. NASA's Mars helicopter will have to stay grounded for a few more weeks due to the fact that the planet it is on is currently in solar conjunction.
Ingenuity Helicopter's 14th Flight Aborted
The Ingenuity, NASA's Mars helicopter, has chosen not to push through with its 14th flight after detecting an anomaly in two of its six small flight-control servo motors.
The 14th flight of the Mars helicopter was supposed to take place on September 18.
According to a report by Space, the 14th flight was meant to demonstrate "the little chopper's ability to fly with slightly higher rotor speeds - 2,700 revolutions per minute (RPM) rather than the usual 2,537 RPM."
Jaakko Karras, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Deputy Operations Lead at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement posted on the NASA website that the "Ingenuity detected an anomaly in two of the small flight-control servo motors (or simply "servos") during its automatic pre-flight checkout and did exactly what it was supposed to do: It canceled the flight."
The two servos that had an anomaly were detected by the Ingenuity during a "servo wiggle" test. As of press time, the team behind the Mars helicopter has not yet figured out the cause of the anomaly.
The Space report adds that the Ingenuity went through two other servo wiggle tests on September 21 and 23, which the helicopter passed. However, the Ingenuity helicopter will have to stay grounded for a few more weeks due to another reason.
Mars is in Solar Conjunction
According to the report by Space, the reason why the Ingenuity helicopter will not be able to take off for another flight anytime soon is because Mars is currently in solar conjunction.
What this means is that Mars is on the other side of our planet. Because of its location, the sun "can corrupt and otherwise interfere with communications sent between the two planets."
Due to the solar conjunction, NASA is refraining from sending commands to the Ingenuity helicopter, its Perseverance rover companion, and NASA's other robots on the planet.
Ingenuity Helicopter's 13th Flight
The Ingenuity helicopter previously completed its 13th flight on Mars early this month. While it flew at a speed slower than its 12th flight, the helicopter was able to snap some photos of the southwest area of Mars' South Seitah region. The helicopter likewise flew at a lower altitude, reaching just 26 feet above the surface.
Its 13th flight was the second time that the Ingenuity flew over the planet's South Seitah region.
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Written by Isabella James