This answer to the question "How long could the Mars helicopter Ingenuity keep up with the Perseverance rover if it wanted to?" reasons that indeed it could for years !
But according to the INGENUITY MARS HELICOPTER landing press kit, as soon as the 30 sols spanning flight test program is complete the Mars 2020 rover will transition into its science operations phase and it's not revealed what would happen to the helicopter.

From that same article:

The helicopter is designed to fly, land, communicate, manage its energy, and keep warm autonomously.

(emphasis by me)

So once the technology demonstration has been a success, I guess not much time would have to be asked from the helicopter operations team to ensure that Ingenuity could follow the rover day by day at a save distance.
That would be a matter of loading the flight computer with new surface data for the next flight, so would not need much time for communication to and from Earth.

Or could that still be one of strong arguments to leave Ingenuity behind alive ?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The central question is, how much support from Perseverance and Mission Control does it need? It may be able to fly autonomously, but it doesn't have any long-distance communication. Press kit: " Throughout the helicopter’s commissioning and flight test campaign, the rover will assist in communications back and forth from Earth." $\endgroup$ – asdfex Feb 28 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ Cool question! btw I"ve just asked Can anything at Mars speak 900 MHz ZigBee besides Ingenuity helicopter and Perseverance rover? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 1 at 1:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Fred Whether the mission needs the extra components isn't really the question - it's why would we want to discard the extra component? Ingenuity could add additional value to what Perseverance does, if it could keep up. Is there a reason why not? I'm curious as well. $\endgroup$ – Saiboogu Mar 1 at 20:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @fred Of course Perseverance does not need the Ingenuity helicopter. But Ingenuity does need Perseverance! It is incapable of communicating off-planet by itself, it has to stay within both line-of sight and 1000m of the rover. $\endgroup$ – PcMan Mar 1 at 21:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.