The navigation timing error caused NASA’s little Mars helicopter to fly on a wild, bumpy journey, which was the first major problem since entering the Martian sky last month.
Officials at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported on Thursday that the experimental helicopter named Ingenuity managed to land safely.
Last Saturday, the failure occurred during the helicopter’s sixth test flight, which took about one minute and was 33 feet (10 meters) high. One of the many photos taken by the onboard camera was not registered in the navigation system, thus wasting the entire timing and making the aircraft confused about its location.
Havard Grip, the helicopter’s chief pilot, said that the ingenuity began to tilt up to 20 degrees back and forth, and there was a peak in power consumption.
He wrote in the online status update that the built-in system provides extra leeway for stability and is “saved.” The helicopter landed within 16 feet (5 meters) of its intended landing site.
Two months after NASA’s Perseverence landed on Mars, in April, Ingenuity became the first aircraft to fly powered on another planet.
The 4 lb (1.8 kg) helicopter was more challenging than before in the first 5 flights. The $85 million (approximately 6.2 billion rupees) technical demonstration left NASA so impressed that its mission was extended by at least one month.
The troublesome flight on Saturday is the first of the bonus period. The engineer spent a few days to solve this problem.