The Mars helicopter goes limp. He was not lifted from the ground on Thursday, the reason for this has not yet been clearly clarified, said the US space agency Nasa. At first, the circumstances indicated a technical problem: the helicopter did not switch to flight mode, which is a prerequisite for take-off.
According to NASA, the risk that this will happen was aware of the fact that it was not preventing flights in the future. The space agency scheduled the next launch attempt this Friday (April 30th).
First successful flight last week
“Ingenuity” took off for the first time last week – making it the first aircraft to fly on another planet. The helicopter, which was powered by lithium-ion batteries and weighed around 1.8 kilograms, then flew two more times – further and faster than before.
The helicopter has to defy extreme conditions on Mars: At night, temperatures drop to minus 90 degrees Celsius, which can easily mean a death sentence for batteries and electronics.
Because of the thin atmosphere, which is roughly only one percent as dense as the one on earth, the “Ingenuity” rotors have to accelerate to 2537 revolutions per minute – many times what helicopters can achieve on earth. “Ingenuity” draws the energy for this exertion from its battery, which is fed by sun rays.
Mars mission with “Perseverance”
The mini-helicopter was put on board the NASA rover “Perseverance” (in German roughly: stamina) at the end of February – after 203 days of flight and 472 million kilometers traveled – with a risky maneuver in a dry Martian lake called “Jezero Crater”.
The development and construction of the approximately 2.5 billion dollar (about 2.2 billion euros) rover had taken eight years. He will search for traces of previous microbial life on Mars and research the climate and geology of the planet.