The Mars Rover solar panels are covered in dust and can't generate enough power. It is going to kill the mission. There isn't enough wind in the location where its at to blow the dust off. Why not use the down draft of the helicopter to blow the dust off the panels.

That could work as an artificial cleaning event.

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    $\begingroup$ Perseverance uses an RTG for power, not solar panels. $\endgroup$
    – notovny
    Commented Jun 25, 2021 at 20:03
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh: Even though the original question was tagged for Curiosity, it has answers that specifically discuss Ingenuity cleaning solar panels. So yes, the old question already answers this question. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Jun 26, 2021 at 4:56
  • $\begingroup$ @DrSheldon okay I'm convinced $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jun 26, 2021 at 5:11
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    $\begingroup$ The rover doesn't have solar panels, so there is nothing to clean. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2021 at 6:37
  • $\begingroup$ @JörgWMittag your other comment indirectly reminds us that there is an active solar-powered rover on Mars, but I don't understand where the "1.4 years" comes from. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 22:58

1 Answer 1


The Mars 2020 rover, Perseverance, does not use solar panels for power. It uses a radiothermal generator to generate its power. As a result, there are no solar panels on the rover to clean.

The only active rover on Mars that uses solar panels is China's Zhurong rover. Communication has been lost with Pathfinder/Sojourner (Ended in 1997), MER/Spirit (2004-2010), and MER/Opportunity (2004-2018). MSL/Curiosity (2012 - present) remains active, but like Perseverance, it uses an RTG.

  • Mars Helicopter Ingenuity's communications are routed through Perseverance. As such it must remain within range of the rover to operate safely.
  • Zhurong and Perserverance are almost 1800 km apart. Over flat ground, Perseverance's top speed is 0.153 kph. It would take about 1.4 years of constant driving at that speed, to get to the Zhurong site, minimum.
  • If instead, you mean NASA's InSight lander,, which is solar powered and experiencing power issues, the distance is about 3000 km.

As a result, there are no current solar-powered missions on Mars that would be worth the potential loss of years of exploration, and the potential loss of the Perserverance rover itself, to visit for the purpose of sending Ingenuity to clean off the solar panels.

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    $\begingroup$ Plus, you'd need to bet on the Wolf Amendment being repealed within the next 1.4 years, otherwise you've made the long drive for nothing. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2021 at 6:41

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