Camera glitch almost causes Mars drone crash

(Image credit: NASA)

UPDATE: NASA’s Mars Ingenuity drone survived a navigation malfunction that could have ended in disaster. The incident was caused by a glitch in the drone’s camera image delivery pipeline during its sixth flight, which hindered its onboard navigation system.

Ingenuity’s downward-facing navigation cameras usually take 30 pictures a second of the surface and feed that stream into the navigation computer. Each time an image arrives the navigation system’s algorithm examines the timestamp and makes a prediction about what the camera should have seen at that moment (based on surface features recognized from previous images). The algorithm then looks at where those features actually appear in the image. The 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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Louise Carey

With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something at which she is so adept that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Louise also brings years of experience as both a web and print journalist, having served as features editor for Practical Photography magazine and contributing photography tutorials and camera analysis to titles including Digital Camera Magazine and  Digital Photographer. Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images, and is DCW's ecommerce editor, meaning that she knows good camera, lens and laptop deals when she sees them.