Ingenuity has suffered a navigational glitch. It is a helicopter designed by NASA. The helicopter arrived on Mars in February with the Perseverance rover. According to NASA, Ingenuity experienced a glitch during its sixth test flight. It said that the helicopter went on an excursion of about 20 degrees. The agency has been conducting test flights on the Red Planet. The helicopter has so far made five successful flights. This is the first time when a technical glitch has been reported in Ingenuity since its arrival. It has delivered promising results during the previous flights. The sixth test flight was conducted on May 22. NASA said that the helicopter was able to maintain flight and landed safely at the designated site. Ingenuity is the first helicopter sent by any space agency to Mars. NASA is the first agency to craft powered and controlled flight on another planet in the solar system.
The helicopter was above the Martian surface for approximately 54 seconds. The flight was reported at an altitude of nearly 33 feet. The helicopter is in good shape at the landing site. Ingenuity developed a glitch in the navigation camera. NASA said that it reported a loss of an image. The same issue was reported in all later navigation images. The camera didn’t register the pictures after the trouble occurred. The agency said that timestamps’ of delivered images are inaccurate. NASA said that the navigation camera saw Ingenuity wobble through the Martian air. Ingenuity’s technical team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said this is the biggest technical malfunction the helicopter has faced so far. The team said that the system successfully muscled through the situation to touch down.
NASA said that Ingenuity started adjusting its velocity soon after it faced the issue. It tilted back and forth and managed to land safely. Just before the landing, the helicopter’s sensors indicated a sudden spike in power consumption. The JPL team said that Ingenuity landed safely because of its certain design features. It can remain unstable and tolerate significant errors. The team said that not using navigation camera images also helped it in landing safely despite malfunctioning. It said that Ingenuity ignored the camera images as it entered the final moments of flight. It stopped oscillating and leveled its attitude to descend at the designed speed. Notably, several subsystems of Ingenuity have reported an increase in power demand to keep the system flying.