NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Goes on Vacation

In this illustration, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter stands on the Red Planet’s surface as NASA’s Perseverance rover (partially visible on the left) rolls away. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Postpones Flights Until August

It’s now dust season and winter in the area on Mars where NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is located. This means there’s more dust in the air and less sunlight available to help recharge Ingenuity’s batteries. Dust levels are predicted to subside later in July, so the team has decided to give the helicopter’s batteries a break for a few weeks in order to build their daily state of charge back up. Depending on weather conditions, Ingenuity is expected to be back in the air around the start of August.

Illustration of NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

As recently explained, the winter season on Mars is especially difficult on batteries. One big component of this is the shorter days, meaning less sunlight available for the solar cells used to recharge the batteries. (Excess dust in the air makes this even worse.) However, another big issue is the cold weather when overnight temperatures can drop down to minus 112 °F (minus 80 °C). At low temperatures, batteries do not perform as well. The cold also necessitates the use of a battery draining heater to protect electronics from the damaging effects of cold cycling.

Ingenuity Mars HelicopterJPLMarsNASAPopular
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  • Sami

    Did you say Mars? You didn’t even reach the moon because it’s simply not possible. When will you tell people the truth?

    • Sean Kelly

      Hey grammy, Pretty concerned for you, I miss you lots! come over for tea sometime!
      We all love you lots!