NASA has restored communication with Ingenuity Mars helicopter

NASA has restored contact with its tiny Mars helicopter, the US space agency said, after an unexpected outage sparked fears the hardworking machine had finally met its end.
Ingenuity, a drone about 0.5 meters tall, arrived on Mars in 2021 aboard the Perseverance rover and became the first motorized craft to fly autonomously on another planet.
Data from the helicopter was transmitted via Perseverance back to Earth, but communications were suddenly lost during a test flight on January 19, Ingenuity's 72nd mission to Mars.
The agency said contact was finally made with the helicopter, with Perseverance ordered to "perform long-duration listening sessions on Ingenuity's signal," AFP reported.
The team is reviewing the new data to better understand the reasons for the unexpected loss of communications on Flight 72.
NASA previously announced that Ingenuity reached an altitude of 12 meters on Flight 72, which was a rapid vertical flight to check the helicopter's systems. During its descent, communications between the helicopter and the rover were lost early before landing.
Perseverance is temporarily "out of line of sight with Ingenuity, but the team may consider approaching for a visual inspection," NASA said in a statement.
NASA has lost contact with the helicopter before, including for an agonizing two months last year.
Working with Perseverance, he acts as an aerial scout to aid his wheelie companion in searching for possible signs of ancient microbial life. /BGNES