NASA Recharges Ingenuity On Way to Mars for First Time Written 14 August 2020


Mars Helicopter Ingenuity, named by Alabama High School Junior Vaneeza Rupani. | NASA/JPL-Caltech/NIA/Rupani Family; NASA

Phys (UK) reports that 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.” The recharge “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.” NASA JPL operation lead for Mars Helicopter Tim Canham said, “This was a big milestone, as it was our first opportunity to turn on Ingenuity and give its electronics a ‘test drive’ since we launched on July 30. ... Since everything went by the book, we’ll perform the same activity about every two weeks to maintain an acceptable state of charge.”
Full Story (Phys)