back to article Software upgrades help Mars helicopter keep flying

NASA has extended the mission of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter and given it the task of assisting the Perseverance rover, thanks to past and future software updates. Ingenuity arrived on Mars in February 2021 along with the rover, and was expected to fly just a handful of times as a technology demonstration. The craft exceeded …

  1. UCAP Silver badge
    Pint

    An amazing achievement

    Raising a glass to everyone working on the Ingenuity mission; your achievements are far beyond what anyone could have expected.

    1. Peter Fairbrother 1

      Re: An amazing achievement

      Yes. Drones on Mars, woot!

      Could it be used to blow the dust off the solar panels on the other Mars rovers? Assuming they are nearby, that is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: An amazing achievement

        "Could it be used to blow the dust off the solar panels on the other Mars rovers?"

        I suppose, although you might not want to risk flying close to a disabled rover. Oh, and even if we cleaned the solar panels, the batteries may be shot by now.

        "Assuming they are nearby, that is."

        They are not.

        Curiosity and Perseverance are about 2300 km away from each other, for instance. It looks like the others are even further away.

      2. UCAP Silver badge

        Re: An amazing achievement

        Not really; the atmosphere on Mars is so thin that the downdraft from the blades is miniscule. Also, the other Mars rovers lost power due to dust on their solar panels, but are no probably even more dead due to the cold (and the fact that their heaters won't have been working).

  2. Skiron
    Go

    Great work

    This is better than some of the low end ones you can try and fly on Earth!

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Great work

      I haven't gone looking for it (yet) but I would imagine the software and hardware designs will be available somewhere from NASA!

  3. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Pint

    Great news

    I followed the original flights of this beauty with great interest, but then everything went a bit quiet.

    Was thinking that it had done it's thing and had been abandoned, so very happy to hear it's still up and flying and doing sterling science work.

    Certainly several boffin beers to all involved!

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Great news

      There's at least one rover that could do with a drone flying over its solar panels, and maybe blowing away the sand round its wheels. Would be amazing if we could send a solar powered microlight to carry one of these around mars and get it to do a bit of housework! Though those thermally induced tornadoes may put the dampers on that!

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Great news

        Sadly the martian atmosphere is almost certainly much too thin for that to be effective. Even to remove dust from solar panels, let alone more deeply from around wheels. Especially given most of it is stuck electrostatically, at least on the panels.

        Nice though it certainly would be to get some of the dust-covered rovers back up and running.

        Maybe the next Mars 'copter should be equipped with a telescopic feather duster attachment below it...?

        1. aregross
          Alien

          Re: Great news

          "Maybe the next Mars 'copter should be equipped with a telescopic feather duster attachment below it...?"

          Doesn't Marvin the Martian have such a device right on his helmet? I mean... he's right there!

          https://looneytunes.fandom.com/wiki/Marvin_the_Martian/Gallery

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The shape of things to come

    > we have increased the size of our team and are making upgrades to our flight software

    It is fortunate that the helo doesn't run on Windows. Otherwise those software upgrades would consist of stuffing advertisements onto the platform

  5. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Meanwhile, as the poster said, religion is still trying to work out what sort of chicken it's OK to eat.

  6. aregross
    Thumb Up

    It's called EVOLUTION

    Nuff said!

  7. WanderingHaggis

    Good value for money

    I'm stunned by the number of NASA projects that exceed life expectancy and just keep on going -- patched updated and still work.

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