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NASA’s plan to save the Ingenuity helicopter from the cold Martian night

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NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has captured the world’s affection with its explorations of Mars which have been far more successful than even the most optimistic predictions.

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But after 28 flights, the helicopter is beginning to suffer from the harsh conditions of the Martian winter.

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With seasonal changes on Mars, there is more and more dust in the atmosphere, and that is causing problems for Ingenuity and threatening the helicopter’s future.

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That’s because dust gets whipped up in the thin atmosphere and settles on the helicopter’s solar panel, which lessens the amount of power it can collect from the sun.

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The helicopter already experienced an issue where communications with it were lost due to a lack of power,

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, which had caused the helicopter’s internal clock to reset and which meant it missed its check-in with the Perseverance rover.

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