Ingenuity Mars Helicopter made 106 meters jump during 7th flight


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Ingenuity Mars Helicopter made 106 meters jump during 7th flight

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter made 106 meters jump during 7th flight

On June 7, 2021 NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter completed 7th flight on Mars flying to 106 meters South. All black and white images are from Ingenuity directly. Mars Helicopter made several shots using its onboard cameras. Ingenuity flew for 62.8 seconds and traveled ~106 meters south to a new landing spot. 7th flight went completely well without any anomalies. But If the navigation system relied on the IMU alone, it would not be very accurate in the long run: Errors would quickly accumulate, and the helicopter would eventually lose its way. To maintain better accuracy over time, the IMU-based estimates are nominally corrected on a regular basis, and this is where Ingenuity’s navigation camera comes in. For the majority of time airborne, the downward-looking navcams takes 30 pictures a second of the Martian surface and immediately feeds them into the helicopter’s navigation system. Each time an image arrives, the navigation system’s algorithm performs a series of actions: First, it examines the timestamp that it receives together with the image in order to determine when the image was taken. Then, the algorithm makes a prediction about what the camera should have been seeing at that particular point in time, in terms of surface features that it can recognize from previous images taken moments before (typically due to color variations and protuberances like rocks and sand ripples). Finally, the algorithm looks at where those features actually appear in the image. The navigation algorithm uses the difference between the predicted and actual locations of these features to correct its estimates of position, velocity, and attitude.


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