NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is viewed by one of the hazard cameras aboard the Perseverance rover during the helicopter’s fourth flight on April 30, 2021. Credit: NASA
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has once again proven itself to be the aeronautic showstopper of 2021 with its fourth flight above the Martian surface, setting the stage for a 30-day “operations demonstration” phase.
The fourth flight of the Ingenuity helicopter took place at 10:46 a.m. EDT (14:46 UTC, 12:30 p.m. local Mars time) April 30, 2021. This was a day later than planned because the device did not transition to flight mode in order for the actual flight to occur.
Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said this was because of a watchdog timer issue identified earlier in April, which an investigation into the vehicle’s software determined there was a 15% chance of this happening each time a flight is attempted. The team found the easiest solution was to just try again a day later.
An image of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter during its second flight on April 22, 2021. The photo was captured by the Perseverance rover, located about 70 meters away. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
While the first three flights ...