NASA’s Mars copter survives ‘anomaly’ during its sixth flight

It’s been a busy spring for many of us, but hopefully no one has forgotten that NASA is currently flying a drone on another planet. The Ingenuity helicopter recently completed its sixth flight. However, a new problem arose with this issue – a timing issue with images being received from its navcam gave the helicopter incorrect information about where it was flying.

As the team describes in a blog post, the helicopter’s various other subsystems kept it running despite the anomaly as it covered the last 65 meters of its journey and landed safely. Apparently the problem was due to a bug in a single image that made it impossible for the vehicle to read the timing on images received by its navigation camera for the remainder of the flight. They are working to fix this problem, but it helps prove that Ingenuity is stable enough to fly on its own even if something goes wrong.

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