After several hours of intense listening, the Perseverance rover was able to locate its missing companion. Establishing communication between Martian robots has allowed the Ingenuity helicopter to be located, but its condition still raises concerns.
The Ingenuity helicopter disappeared on Thursday during its 72nd flight over the surface of Mars. As it was about to land, it unexpectedly disappeared from Perseverance's radar, and ground control wasn't sure if it would be able to find it.
Find a Martian helicopter lost in action
This is quite a dead end for the entire mission. The Perseverance rover can operate alone, but having a flyable companion makes it even more effective. The Ingenuity helicopter explores the Martian terrain from a bird's-eye view For cognitive purposes, but also as a scout. The results it obtains are transmitted to Earth and play an important role in planning the vehicle's current paths.
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Ground surveillance of Martian robots immediately began rescue operations. They included a more detailed analysis of the collected flight data and activation of the Perseverance rover's alert mode. It turns out that long-term hearings are a good way to locate a missing item.
The Perseverance rover made contact with the missing helicopter
On Sunday, January 21, the morning of JPL, NASA announced good news: the Perseverance rover had made contact with the missing Ingenuity helicopter.
We learn later in the message that the NASA team is still analyzing the situation. The reasons for the communications outage are worrying and still unknown. It is also unclear what status Ingenuity is in and whether it will be able to actively participate in the Mars mission.
Katarzyna Rutkowska, journalist at Wirtualna Polska
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