Sunday, 09 May, 2021


NASA's Mars Helicopter makes historic first flight

The shadow of NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity is seen during its first flight on the planet in this still image taken from a video Ingenuity performs first flight on Mars
Kristine Garrett | 19 April, 2021, 23:38

A small robotic helicopter named Ingenuity on Monday scripted history when it lifted off the surface of Mars and hovered in the wispy air of the red planet.

NASA pulled off a Wright Brothers moment on Mars early today by successfully flying the tiny Ingenuity helicopter for approximately 40 seconds.

Parked about 64.3 m (211 feet) away during Ingenuity's historic first flight, the Perseverance rover not only acted as a communications relay between the helicopter and Earth, but also chronicled the flight operations with its cameras.

A black-and-white photo taken by a downward-pointing onboard camera while the helicopter was aloft showed the distinct shadow cast by Ingenuity in the Martian sunlight onto the ground just below it. You're watching video of the #MarsHelicopter's first flight - a true "Wright brothers" moment.

As mentioned, this is the first ever flight of a powered vehicle on Mars, so while there's been lots of modelling and simulation work predicting how it would go, no one knew for sure what would happen before this live test. Ingenuity has to rotate its rotor at a super-fast 2,500 RPM, for instance, compared to around 400 to 500 RPM for a helicopter on Earth, because of how thin the atmosphere is on Mars, which produced significant technical challenges.

Shortly afterwards, NASA associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen tweeted that "as an homage to the two innovative bicycle makers from Dayton, this first of many airfields on other worlds will now be known as Wright Brothers Field, in recognition of the ingenuity and innovation that continue to propel exploration".

At the surface of Mars, the atmosphere is just 1/100th as dense as Earth's. Success hinges on Ingenuity executing the pre-programmed flight instructions using an autonomous pilot and navigation system.

"We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet", MiMi Aung, Ingenuity project manager at JPL, said in the control room moments after engineers confirmed the successful flight.

Ingenuity hitched a ride to Mars on Perseverance, clinging to the rover's belly upon their arrival in an ancient river delta in February. Prospects for future flights rest largely on a safe, four-point touchdown the first time.

NASA originally meant to fly Ingenuity on April 11th, but delayed the flight to fix a software issue with its command sequence. While the project considered updating the flight software to correct the problem, they elected instead to adjust the timing of commands, concluding from testing that it would allow the helicopter to take off 85% of the time.

Recommended

loading...
...

NASA Ingenuity helicopter makes historic flight on Mars NASA Ingenuity helicopter makes historic flight on Mars This is because of the distance between Earth and Mars - it takes more than 11 minutes to get a radio signal back to Earth. NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took a picture of its own shadow while hovering over the planet's surface.

PCs planned to shutdown Ontario Legislature on Wednesday, NDP says PCs planned to shutdown Ontario Legislature on Wednesday, NDP says It has since modified parts of that order relating to park playgrounds and policing powers. Civil libertarians, politicians and analysts have condemned the added police powers.

Fire rages on foothills of Cape Town's Table Mountain Fire rages on foothills of Cape Town's Table Mountain One firefighter was injured and being treated at a hospital, according to the Cape Town fire and rescue department. A section of the tea room at Rhodes Memorial has been destroyed and people are urged not to enter the area.

Police, bylaw officers to enforce Ontario's stay-at-home order Police, bylaw officers to enforce Ontario's stay-at-home order The state of emergency and stay-at-home order in Ontario have been extended two weeks, Premier Doug Ford said today. Capacity limits have been reduced to 25 per cent in all retail settings where in-store shopping is permitted.

Lockdown in Delhi? CM Arvind Kejriwal likely to make BIG announcement today Lockdown in Delhi? CM Arvind Kejriwal likely to make BIG announcement today He said he spoke to Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday morning and stressed on the need of beds for the Covid patients. He also asked the Centre to reserve 50 per cent beds in central government hospitals in Delhi for COVID-19 patients.

Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson responds to European Super League proposals Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson responds to European Super League proposals Ligue 1 clubs notably refused to agree to the plans, earning praise, along with the Bundesliga, for their stance by UEFA. There's 100 years of history in this country from fans that have lived and loved these clubs, and they need protecting.

3 killed in shooting at Wisconsin bar, manhunt launched for suspect 3 killed in shooting at Wisconsin bar, manhunt launched for suspect Officials were investigating another mass shooting in Indianapolis, where eight people were killed at a FedEx warehouse Thursday. The shooting happened early Sunday at Somers House Tavern in the Village of Somers, Kenosha County Sgt David Wright said.

Czechia expels Russian diplomats over 2014 ammunition depot blast Czechia expels Russian diplomats over 2014 ammunition depot blast Now Czech authorities believe the same men were involved in the bombing of a warehouse in Vrbetice, in the east of the country. The men are wanted for their potential role in the 2014 explosion, the organised crime squad (NCOZ) said on its website.

US, China agree to cooperate on climate change US, China agree to cooperate on climate change But to achieve the global climate goal, Kerry said words must be put into action and urged China to reduce its use of coal. From Shanghai, the former secretary of state flew to South Korea for talks. "We all need to see what happens".

US administers 205.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines US  administers 205.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines But the concern is that in some cases, they are occurring in people infected by more contagious virus variants. While a third booster shot against the virus is not yet required, Moderna has announced it will be ready soon.

Biden keeps US refugee cap at 15,000 rather than raise it Biden keeps US  refugee cap at 15,000 rather than raise it Hours later, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the president is committed to increasing the cap without specifying a number. Trump had blocked many Muslim and African refugees by prioritizing smaller groups of refugees, like Iraqi Christians.

Iran names suspect in ‘sabotage’ attack on nuclear facility Iran names suspect in ‘sabotage’ attack on nuclear facility The man Tehran accuses of being behind the recent explosion at its main Natanz nuclear plant has been named by Iranian state TV. This satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc. shows the Natanz nuclear facility in central Iran on April 7.

Ontario could announce new COVID-19 restrictions Friday Ontario could announce new COVID-19 restrictions Friday Ford also said enforcement will be ramped up, "We are taking decisive action on the ground to dramatically step up enforcement". Premier John Horgan. "And there is the option for a police officer to issue a ticket", said Jones in a news conference.

Police identify the 8 people killed at FedEx facility in Indianapolis Police identify the 8 people killed at FedEx facility in Indianapolis Law enforcement officials said they had not immediately determined whether racial or ethnic hatred was behind the killings. Thursday on the report of shots fired at the FedEx facility in the 8900 block of Mirabel Road in Indianapolis.

Biden-Suga Meetings At White House Set To Focus On China Biden-Suga Meetings At White House Set To Focus On China Biden said they agreed to enhance their support for global vaccination efforts through the ACT accelerator and COVID-19 facility. Biden did not mention Taiwan by name amid concerns from global watchdogs that China may take military action against the island.