Engineers recharge Ingenuity’s batteries on its way to Mars


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Engineers have successfully completed their first in-flight maintenance recharge of the batteries on Perseverance’s small test helicopter Ingenuity.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter received a checkout and recharge of its power system on Friday, Aug. 7, one week into its near seven-month journey to Mars with the Perseverance rover. This marks the first time the helicopter has been powered up and its batteries have been charged in the space environment.

During the eight-hour operation, the performance of the rotorcraft’s six lithium-ion batteries was analyzed as the team brought their charge level up to 35%. The project has determined a low charge state is optimal for battery health during the cruise to Mars.

They plan to do these partial recharges about once every two weeks during the trip to Mars to keep the battery charged the optimal amount.

About a month after Perseverance has landed in February 2020, it will find a large flat area to deploy Ingenuity, then move away. The helicopter will then begin a 30 day test program to see if it will be able to fly in the very thin Martian atmosphere, only about 1% as thick as Earth’s.

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3 comments

  • James Street

    This is a fun easy to understand 16-minute video about the Mars helicopter:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhsZUZmJvaM

  • Jerry Greenwood

    It will be interesting seeing it fly. With the highest Martian atmospheric density being equal to 115k feet on earth this will be quite an engineering accomplishment.

  • LocalFluff

    I heard Jim Green say in an interview today/yesterday that the little chopper won’t fly higher than 5 feet.

    That’s the hight at which an elk could gnaw on its blades. Testing for alien life, NASA style.

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