Contact Restored! NASA Mars Helicopter found


Stationed out of Earth’s orbit, on a desolate and icy planet, are the chosen explorers tasked with completing NASA’s Mars Rover Mission. These explorers are called Perseverance and Ingenuity, and they are robotic systems specially equipped to conduct exploration and testing over the surface of our neighbouring planet. Perseverance is a rover which covers up close groundwork, while its counterpart is a small helicopter. Together, they examine the Jezero crater with the goal to "seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and dust) for possible return to Earth." As stated by NASA. This pair are catapulting us further into the depths of space exploration. However, on the 18th of January disaster struck, Ingenuity ceased all communication with its companion.

Ingenious Ingenuity

The catastrophe occurred during the helicopter’s 72nd flight over the red planet. After so many successful missions, such a sudden mishap was not expected by the team on Earth. In a status update, the agency stated that the Ingenuity had been sent on a “quick pop-up vertical flight” as a systems check after the craft had suffered an unplanned landing during a its previous flight. On its way back down, all communication between the pair broke down, and Ingenuity went off the radar.

On its original mission, Ingenuity had already exceeded its original goal. The helicopter had proven that even in the thin and frigid Martian atmosphere, powered and controlled flight is still possible. The huge revelation has shown scientists that drones can be effectively used for the exploration of alien planets such as Mars and the others in our solar system. Because of this discovery, it is essential that contact is kept almost contact so as not to destroy this new hope. The team on Earth immediately began to brainstorm ideas to get the two Rovers back in contact.

Cosmic Crisis Averted 

After the Rover’s landing in February 2021, the Ingenuity along with its partner Perseverance have made huge leaps in investigating the inner workings of Mars. Their loss would be catastrophic. So, to avoid this hurdle, the Ingenuity team discussed ways to bring the pair back together. Eventually, they settled on instructing Perseverance to “perform long-duration listening sessions for ingenuity’s signal”. Miraculously, on Saturday the 20th of January, great news came from NASA’s jet propulsion Laboratory after they tweeted that Ingenuity has indeed regained contact with Perseverance. This news has brought joy to the team working on the rover project, as after 1000 days of operations and 72 flights, it would have been incredibly disheartening to lose such a talented and valuable piece of equipment.

With this crisis averted, scientists are now able to relax and get back to their task of decoding the data conveyed by Ingenuity and Perseverance. On top of this, the ingenuity team has begun reviewing new data from the failed flight in an attempt to understand the reasons behind the unexpected communications drop out as well as figuring out a method to prevent this anomaly from happening again.

Looking up

Despite the recent mishap with communications, ingenuity is quickly getting back on track with aiding Perseverance in their mission on Mars. The discoveries uncovered by the two rovers will boost out knowledge of Mars further, in turn allowing for new opportunities to possibly come to light. Opportunities such as send a human to another Planet such as Mars, or even setting up a pedestrian colony there. The possibilities the talented pair could reveal to us are endless.