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Após o voo Dusty 19, a equipe se prepara para o voo 20

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Marte Helicóptero Sol 345 – Câmera de Navegação: Imagem da câmera de navegação capturada assim que o Ingenuity decolou para o voo 19, mostrando a areia acumulada voando de um dos pés do Ingenuity. Créditos: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A equipe Ingenuity está começando os preparativos para o voo 20!

O voo 19 foi concluído com sucesso em 7 de fevereiro de 2022, às 20:21 PST (Sol 345 da missão Perseverance, 12:00 LMST Local Mean Solar Time), e colocou o Ingenuity com segurança dentro da elipse de pouso designada logo acima da crista leste do Bacia do “Sul Séitah”.

O voo 19 foi um lembrete dos desafios e da imprevisibilidade do ambiente marciano. Conforme discutido em nosso atualização anterior, o vôo 19 foi atrasado por uma tempestade de poeira inesperada que causou uma queda significativa na densidade do ar e na saída do painel solar. Ingenuity continuou a acordar e se comunicar com Perseverance durante a tempestade e retornou aos níveis de geração de energia pré-tempestade depois que o céu clareou. A tempestade de poeira, no entanto, deixou a equipe Ingenuity com dois desafios adicionais para lidar: uma janela de câmera de navegação suja e poeira nos conjuntos de swashplate.

A comparação das imagens da câmera de navegação tiradas antes e depois da tempestade de poeira revelou que a tempestade depositou detritos na janela da câmera de navegação voltada para o solo, especificamente em torno da periferia do campo de visão da câmera. Detritos na janela da câmera de navegação são problemáticos porque o software de navegação visual do Ingenuity pode confundir os detritos com as características reais do solo que ele tenta rastrear durante o voo, o que pode causar erros de navegação. Felizmente, o software do Ingenuity fornece uma ferramenta para lidar com esse problema: a equipe pode fornecer um arquivo de máscara de imagem atualizado que informa ao software de navegação visual para ignorar determinadas regiões da imagem. A equipe de operações fez uso desse recurso e realizou uma atualização de máscara de imagem no final do mês passado.

A tempestade de poeira também depositou poeira e areia nas montagens de swashplate do Ingenuity. Em[{” attribute=””>Mars as well as on Earth, a helicopter’s swashplates are very important because they control the pitch (angle from horizontal) of the rotor blades, which is essential for stable and controlled flight. Ingenuity’s swashplate issue was first detected when the rotorcraft reported a failure during its first automated swashplate actuator self-test since the dust storm on January 28, 2022 (Sol 335 of the Perseverance mission). Data revealed that all six swashplate servo actuators were experiencing unusual levels of unusual levels of resistance while moving the swashplates over their range of motion. The team determined that the likeliest explanation for the increased resistance was that dust and sand had accumulated on the swashplate assemblies, which have exposed moving parts. This theory is supported by the fact that Perseverance also observed significant dust and sand accumulation on its upper deck following the storm.

Experiments completed during Ingenuity’s development had shown that the swashplate assemblies should be able to clear out dust and sand with repeated actuation. A new experiment was performed earlier this month, which also confirmed the swashplates’ self-cleaning ability. The team tested this approach by performing a repeat self-test routine, or “servo wiggle,” on Sol 340. The data from that activity showed a significant improvement – a reduction in servo loading, so the team followed it up with seven back-to-back servo wiggles on Sol 341. Remarkably, by the end of that activity, Ingenuity’s servo loads appeared nearly identical to nominal loads seen prior to the dust storm. Ingenuity was cleared for re-attempting Flight 19, which it completed with healthy actuator performance throughout. All in all, Flight 19 was fraught with challenges, but Ingenuity demonstrated its resilience once again, shaking off the dust and getting itself out of the South Séítah basin!

The team is now preparing for Flight 20, which will continue Ingenuity’s march alongside Perseverance back to Perseverance’s landing location — the Octavia E. Butler Landing Site. From there, the two robotic partners will begin traveling to the Jezero Crater river delta. Although they are both headed to the same meeting point, Ingenuity and Perseverance will take different routes to get to the river delta: Perseverance will drive around Séítah, and Ingenuity will take a shortcut, flying northwest across Séítah. Flight 20 will take Ingenuity to a shallow depression just southwest of its original airfield, Wright Brothers Field. This location will serve as the starting point for Ingenuity’s journey across Séítah. During Flight 20, Ingenuity is planned to traverse 1,280 feet (390 meters), at an altitude of 32.8 feet (10 meters) and a maximum ground speed of 10.1 mph (4.5 meters per second). This flight will take place no earlier than February 25. Stay tuned!

Written by Jaakko Karras, Ingenuity Chief Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory





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