NASA’s Mars helicopter did not take off for the fourth flight

Last February, NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars. Curiosity comes to the rescue, knowing the area perfectly as this rover has been on Mars for almost 10 years. If the main goal of persistence is to find traces of life on Mars, the rover will have to complete a variety of other missions in parallel. Fortunately, persistence didn’t come empty-handed.

Thanks to its Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA), the rover was recently able to transmit a weather forecast from the planet Mars to teams on Earth. Perseverance is even more powerful when using its MOXIE tool to generate oxygen on the surface of the red planet, whose atmosphere contains 96% carbon dioxide. You will understand that the NASA rover took many tools with it to help with its research.

Ingenuity: three flights but not four

Persistence also went to the trouble of packing Ingenuity, a small helicopter adapted to the conditions of Mars. In mid-April, NASA succeeded for the first time in removing its helicopter from the surface of Mars. On its first flight, Ingenuity took off just 3 meters above the ground and for only 30 seconds. However, NASA can now see this first validated test further. Unless…

Tonight, the official Twitter account of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported that Ingenuity did not take off on a fourth flight. It is currently impossible to determine what caused this malfunction. The teams wait for the data to return to Earth for analysis. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get damaged after just 3 flights, it could be a real blow to the endurance mission.

Aim up and fly, fly again. The #MarsHelicopter’s ambitious fourth flight has not taken off, but the team is evaluating the data and will try to try again soon. We’ll keep you up to date.

– NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) April 29, 2021

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