NASA’s helicopter, Efficiency, crashed on Tuesday during its sixth flight to the Red Planet when the plane lost stability in the air. Fortunately, the machine was able to overcome the situation and land safely.
The flight took place on May 22, but NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which monitors Mars in Simplicity, has only released details of the incident.
The helicopter’s sixth flight appeared to have flown so well that it was planned to fly 21 meters at an altitude of 10 meters above the Marshall surface.
But at 1,150 meters, Simplicity began to change its speed, reflecting backwards in a double pattern, and enduring a spike in energy consumption, with unpredictable behavior throughout the rest of the flight.
After analyzing the incident, JPL’s team discovered a fault in a system that helps efficiency estimate its speed and maintain stability in the air.
The system simplifies the use of ground images taken by navigation cameras. Images are fed through algorithms for quick processing, resulting in the aircraft making necessary adjustments to its position, velocity and altitude due to the data.
On its sixth flight, an error in the pipeline of images delivered by the camera knocked the algorithm out of the image and lost the single image. This caused the adjust-pound, 1-inch-altitude helicopter to make its adjustments due to incorrect timing, which resulted in unpredictable flight behavior.
“As a result, discrepancies have greatly reduced the information used to fly helicopters, which is why estimates are constantly being ‘corrected’ to account for phantom errors,” JPL said. Said On account of this incident, he added, “large recurring events were advanced.”
The team was relieved to report, however, that they were able to maintain the flight with ease and safely touch within a few meters of their target landing site.
Smart flights are autonomous, but it receives instructions for each air travel from JPL engineers back to Southern California. In April, The machine became the first aircraft To get a powered, controlled flight to another planet. Since then, it has taken complex flights at high speeds without any major glitches – up to its most recent trip, that is.
Commenting on the incident, JPL said, “In fact, the intelligence dealt with the situation realistically and even though the flight detected the risk of time to be addressed, it in many ways confirmed the robustness of the system.”
It added that, although it certainly did not plan to facilitate such a stressful flight, the discrepancy stated that it now contained valuable flight data related to “when the helicopter’s performance reaches the outside of the envelope”.
JPL said the data “will be carefully analyzed further, expanding our store of knowledge about helicopters flying to Mars.”