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Even NASA’s helicopter on Mars has to attend for software program updates

You recognize whenever you faucet an app in your telephone and as an alternative of opening, it begins downloading an replace? That is form of what’s taking place with NASA’s helicopter on Mars, Ingenuity.

Throughout a pre-flight rotor take a look at on the Martian floor Friday, the pc onboard Ingenuity aborted operations when making an attempt to enter flight mode. To repair the difficulty, NASA will deploy a software program replace to the helicopter, the area company introduced Monday.

Now, like ready to play a online game with a brand new patch, we wait.

Ingenuity sits on the Martian floor the place it’ll carry out its take a look at flight. Perseverance captured this picture from a secure distance.

Picture: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

NASA has recognized the issue, so growing a software program replace ought to be an easy course of. The company mentioned on Monday it’s modifying how Ingenuity’s two flight controllers boot up, which ought to assist it transition into flight mode. 

Not like a telephone that is in all probability inside 100 toes of a WiFi router, Ingenuity communicates with Earth by the Perseverance rover — each are roughly 175 million miles away from Earth. It takes no less than 15 minutes for info to journey on the pace of sunshine from one planet to the opposite, so it isn’t fairly as fast as an replace to the Twitter app.

As soon as the replace is deployed and verified on Earth by NASA, assessments can recommence and we must always get a brand new estimate on when the flight assessments will start.

If all the things goes nicely and Ingenuity turns into the primary human-made object to fly on one other planet, the helicopter is anticipated to fly as much as 4 extra occasions over 30 sols (Mars days).

In the meantime, Perseverance might be sitting at a secure distance away, capturing the tech demo with its cameras and standing by in case one other hotfix is required. Fortunately Ingenuity does not have to be plugged in whereas it updates.

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