After a critical rotor-blade-spinning test ended abruptly, NASA has postponed a Mars helicopter flight.


NASA has delayed the primary flight of its Ingenuity Mars helicopter after a crucial check-spin of the drone's rotor blades stopped.

This became the closing most important take a look at to make sure the helicopter might be geared up for its first flight, which turned into originally scheduled for early Monday. Now NASA has not on time the historical liftoff — which could mark the first powered, controlled flight on some other planet — to Wednesday.

For the test on Friday, Ingenuity became imagined to spin its blades at full pace even as at the ground. the two pairs of blades have to have spun in opposite guidelines at greater than 2,500 rotations in step with minute — about 8 times quicker than an Earth helicopter. On flight day, they will want that velocity to lift the four-pound drone into the skinny Martian ecosystem. That air has simply 1% the density of Earth's surroundings, making Ingenuity's challenge the equal of flying 3 times higher than the peak of Mount Everest.

but that check spin was all at once halted while a "watchdog" timer expired, NASA introduced on Saturday. This timer ended the command series that turned into teaching Ingenuity to conduct each step of the test. The forestall took place as the command collection changed into looking to transition the helicopter's flight pc from "pre-flight" to "flight" mode.

"The watchdog timer oversees the command collection and indicators the system to any capability issues. It enables the machine live safe via not intending if an issue is determined and worked as planned," NASA's announcement said.

it's no longer yet clean what the issue changed into, but NASA said the helicopter is "safe and healthy" and completely speaking with undertaking controllers on the planet. The organization's helicopter group is reviewing records from the check to diagnose the issue. NASA will should reattempt the full-pace spin before Ingenuity can fly.

Ingenuity traveled almost three hundred million miles to Mars tucked in the belly of the Perseverance rover. It has efficaciously opened up itself from its underbelly hideaway, dropped to the floor, survived frigid Martian nights on its very own, charged up with sun power, and performed a chain of gadget assessments.

all of the checkouts and exams had long past nicely till Friday's full-speed spin.

"so far so correct, knock on wooden," MiMi Aung, the project manager for Ingenuity, stated in a briefing earlier than that final test on Friday.

For its first flight, Ingenuity is meant to raise itself approximately 10 ft into the air, hover, then lower itself safely returned to the floor. If that is going properly, Ingenuity ought to strive up to 4 extra increasingly more difficult flights.

"we are all kind of a little bit fearful and excited on the identical time," Thomas Zurbuchen, the agency's accomplice administrator for science, advised Insider on Friday. "we're all prepared, but we will all feel higher when it is finished — and successful."

this is a flight experiment, intended to prove that rotorcraft technology can paintings on Mars. If it succeeds, it could open the door for destiny area-helicopters to study areas that rovers cannot attain — mountains, canyons, and rocky terrains — or maybe do reconnaissance for destiny Mars astronauts.

"assume that it does, in fact, work. What we are able to have proven is that we are able to add an aerial size to discovery and exploration on Mars," Zurbuchen stated. "That aerial size, of path, opens up factors of technological know-how and universal exploration that, frankly, at this second in time, are best our dreams."