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Updated January 21st, 2024 at 19:36 IST

NASA Reconnects With Ingenuity Helicopter on Mars After Communication Loss Scare

Ingenuity went incommunicado during its 72nd flight on January 20 but communications have been re-established thanks to Perseverance rover.

mars
Ingenuity on Mars. | Image:NASA
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NASA has re-established contact with the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars. The tiny explorer went incommunicado during its 72nd flight on January 20. In an update on January 21, the team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) which manages Ingenuity said that contact has been re-established thanks to the Perseverance rover which searched for signals from the helicopter. It also said that the reason for the communication loss is being investigated.

"We've reestablished contact with the Mars Helicopter after instructing Perseverance to perform long-duration listening sessions for Ingenuity’s signal," JPL said in a statement.

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Good news today: We've reestablished contact with the #MarsHelicopter after instructing @NASAPersevere to perform long-duration listening sessions for Ingenuity’s signal.

The team is reviewing the new data to better understand the unexpected comms dropout during Flight 72. https://t.co/KvCVwhZ5Rk

— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) January 21, 2024

"The team is reviewing the new data to better understand the unexpected comms dropout during Flight 72," it further said.

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During its latest flight, Ingenuity climbed to a maximum altitude of 400 feet (12 meters) and went out of reach during its descent.

"During its planned descent, communications between the helicopter and rover terminated early, prior to touchdown," an official statement said at the time. Notably, Perseverance plays a key role in allowing teams to keep in touch with Ingenuity as it acts as a relay between Earth and the helicopter.

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Since Ingenuity went out line-of-sight of Perseverance, the team considered moving the rover around to locate it.

Ingenuity arrived on Mars with the Perseverance rover which touched down in the Jezero crater on February 18, 2021. Designed to demonstrate flying capabilities with just five flights on another planet with atmosphere as thin as Mars, Ingenuity continues to break records with a whopping 72 hops.

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Published January 21st, 2024 at 19:36 IST

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