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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday March 24 2021, @02:48PM   Printer-friendly

NASA lays out plans for its first flights on Mars:

On Tuesday, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) hosted a press conference where it detailed the plans for the Ingenuity drone that hitched a ride to Mars attached to the underside of the Perseverance rover. The scientists and engineers behind the drone announced that they've now picked a site for what is expected to be the first powered flight on another planet. With the site settled, they're now targeting April 8 for the flight, which will be the first in a month long series of test flights to validate the technology.

[...] HÃ¥vard Grip, Ingenuity's chief pilot, said that the test flights required two distinct areas, both of which needed to be flat. The inner part, which he called the airfield, had to have very little material that could interfere with landings. That needed to be surrounded by a larger area, called the flight zone, that had to have enough material in it that the drone's onboard image-processing system could track individual features in order to assist with navigation.

Grip said the search for an appropriate area started within a few hours of Perseverance's landing. That's because knowing where Perseverance was helped Grip and his colleagues search satellite imagery of the surrounding area. Once the rover was operational, the drone provided higher-resolution imagery of potential sites.

In the end, things couldn't be much more convenient, as the rover landed on what will be the edge of the flight zone, which extends north from the landing site.

[...] If everything goes well with depositing Ingenuity and its systems check out, the earliest we could see a flight is in two weeks, on April 8. A month has been set aside for five flights, with extensive checkouts of the system between each. During this time, however, Perseverance won't be able to move on to its main science mission.


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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24 2021, @04:23PM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24 2021, @04:23PM (#1128401)

    They can lay out their plans all they want to.
    Nasa will be second if not third to the red planet.

    My money is on SpaceX, the whole point of SpaceX is so Elon Musk
    can grow a rose on Mars. That's it. So I pose a loaded question...

    Considering the various technologies Nasa and SpaceX have aquired
    and considering the length of time both have been in existance,
    which one is more probable in acheiving their desire first?

    I bet Elon Musk grows a rose on Mars before Nasa gets people there.

    • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday March 24 2021, @04:48PM

      by Tork (3914) on Wednesday March 24 2021, @04:48PM (#1128404)
      Yeah... take that, NASA!
      --
      Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Freeman on Wednesday March 24 2021, @04:59PM

      by Freeman (732) on Wednesday March 24 2021, @04:59PM (#1128407) Journal

      NASA has to deal with a congress full of people who want to siphon off money to their own district, if not pockets, directly. Elon Musk is essentially, the benevolent dictator of SpaceX as it were. There is no surprise that SpaceX can aim for a goal and do that. Whereas NASA gets to flip-flop around every 4 to 8 years and deals with all manner of bureaucratic nonsense. Not to mention, they're not just focused on going to Mars, not like we were focused on going to the Moon in the 60s. Also, Mars is really just a dream. What direct benefit to the people of the USA is there to sending someone to Mars? Not much. Elon Musk can afford to chase his dreams and NASA has been a facilitator of that dream, if not as big as they likely should have.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday March 24 2021, @05:00PM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Wednesday March 24 2021, @05:00PM (#1128408) Journal

      You got clickbaited. This is about the "Mars helicopter" that's already on Mars.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB on Wednesday March 24 2021, @05:14PM (2 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 24 2021, @05:14PM (#1128411) Journal

      My money is on SpaceX, the whole point of SpaceX is so Elon Musk can grow a rose on Mars. That's it.

      Incorrect. The whole point of SpaceX is so Elon Musk can be the first human to copulate in Zero G.

      --
      I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24 2021, @11:27PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24 2021, @11:27PM (#1128562)

        Pretty sure some Shuttle or ISS astronauts beat him to it decades ago.

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday March 25 2021, @04:24PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 25 2021, @04:24PM (#1128839) Journal

          Videos, or it didn't happen.

          --
          I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24 2021, @08:15PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24 2021, @08:15PM (#1128490)

    1. Phone Elon to be sure he has no flights booked that day
    2. Launch rocket to Mars
    3. Explain to congress why rocket blew up, ask for another $10 billion for a new one

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24 2021, @11:31PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24 2021, @11:31PM (#1128566)

    If you read the articles on Ars there were some interesting technical hurdles they had to overcome before they could even attempt to fly on Mars. It seems that thin cold air doesn't play well with helicopter blades and they had a few 'incidents' in the test chamber on Earth. They also sent a piece of the Wright Brothers' original flyer along for the first flight on another planet.

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