NASA’s Ingenuity Keeps Martian Rover Flying Long Past Their Expected Perseverance
The Closest You’ll Get To A Martian Flight Sim For Now
The bandwidth between Mars and Earth sucks, varying from 500Kb/s up to almost 3Mb/s depending on their relative positions. The upload to orbit from the Ingenuity Martian rover to orbit is not much better, hitting 2Mb/s on a good day. That hasn’t stopped it from sending back an almost three minute long video of Ingenuity’s helicopter soaring the skies of Mars, which NASA has shared to Earth.
The existence of the video is as impressive as it’s contents as this was it’s 25th flight; the expectation was for five flights before the Martian helicopter failed and so far it has hit 28. NASA is hoping for a 29th in the near future, having overcome a rather difficult technical problem. It might be pretty easy to connect to an NTP Time Service here on Earth to fix your BIOS clock after the battery died; not so much when it happens on Mars. On May 3rd Perseverance lost it’s connection to Ingenuity, after a dust storm covered the solar panels on the rover and the battery drained beyond it’s ability to keep the clock going.
As a rover needs to know when the day ends so it can go into hibernation to keep those batteries alive, and to fire up the heaters to keep them from freezing, having the wrong time is more than just an inconvenience. NASA did manage to sort out the FPGA; something to think about the next time you are providing remote technical support.
In the sped-up footage shown below, the vehicle climbs to 10 meters, heads southwest, accelerates to max speed in under three seconds, and flies over Martian sand ripples and rock fields before landing on relatively flat terrain.