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### First Flight on Mars? Ingenuity Helicopter Preps for Takeoff

posted by Fnord666 on Sunday March 28 2021, @07:39PM
from the First-Post-on-Mars! dept.

Salon has an article on Ingenuity.

In 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright flew a plane for 12 seconds, 120 feet in the air, on what is now known as the first powered-controlled flight on Earth. Now, 118 years later, the first powered-controlled attempt at a flight on another planet is about to take place.

According to NASA, Ingenuity — the four-pound rotorcraft attached to Perseverance — is on its way to its "airfield" on Mars.

The space agency announced that its target for its first takeoff attempt will happen no earlier than April 8, 2021.

Ingenuity was designed as an experiment to see if it is possible to fly on Mars as we do here on Earth. And the process leading up to the takeoff is a very meticulous one. Consider how long it took humans to stick a powered-controlled flight on Earth; given Mars' thin atmosphere and a twenty-minute delay in communication, it is arguably more challenging on Mars.

"As with everything with the helicopter, this type of deployment has never been done before," Farah Alibay, Mars helicopter integration lead for the Perseverance rover, said in a press statement. "Once we start the deployment there is no turning back."

Every move for the next couple of weeks could make or break Ingenuity's success — starting with precisely positioning the rotorcraft in the middle of its 33-by-33-foot square airfield, which is actually a flat field on the Martian surface with no obstructions. From there, the entire deployment process from Perseverance will take about six Martian days, which are called sols. (The Martian sol is thirty-nine minutes longer than an Earth day.)

Good luck, little chopper!

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• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 5, Insightful) by Socrastotle on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:16PM (68 children)

by Socrastotle (13446) on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:16PM (#1130419) Journal

One thing I like to emphasize is how rovers and probes have helped us make some absolutely critical and shocking discoveries. For instance in 2013 it was discovered that the Martian soil oddly enough has a fair amount of water in it, about 2% per volume. So a cubic foot of soil gets you about a liter of water. Now think about something. The first successful probe was sent to Mars in 1964. So it only took us about 50 years of probes and rovers to learn that the soil is somewhat moist...

Within a week of landing a human on Mars, we will likely have learned exponentially more about the planet than half a century of probes and rovers have taught us.

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• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 4, Funny) by pe1rxq on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:21PM (60 children)

by pe1rxq (844) on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:21PM (#1130422) Homepage

Don't forget that the survival of this first human relies heavily on the 50 years of lessons learned with probes....
Plenty of mistakes have been made in those years, luckily no humans where on board when some idiots started using inches, feet and pounds (probably while chanting 'USA! USA! USA!')

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 2, Touché) by khallow on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:32PM (47 children)

by khallow (3766) on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:32PM (#1130424) Journal

Don't forget that the survival of this first human relies heavily on the 50 years of lessons learned with probes....

How many more decades of "learning with probes" will we have to endure? At some point, survival of the first human will have to rely heavily on that first mission.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:27PM (32 children)

by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:27PM (#1130449)

Lots apparently.

Every time I moan about the lack of manned missions to Mars people try to tell me how dangerous it is but none of those dangers seem like something that should stop a determined effort.

I'm not claiming it would be easy, but that doesn't sound like a reason to not do it either.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:50PM (26 children)

by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:50PM (#1130458)

How about they clean up their units first before trying to send people to other planets?

E = hf

In units that is:

Joules = Joules * sec * cycles/sec
J = J * cycles

Which is false. The units of h must be J * s / cycle, ie plank's constant is the minimum quanta of energy that is constant across all wavelengths.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck%E2%80%93Einstein_relation [wikipedia.org]

Everything goes bad from there leading to more and more bizarre deductions.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday March 29 2021, @12:58AM (5 children)

by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday March 29 2021, @12:58AM (#1130529)

Err, did you respond in the wrong thread?

None of that has any bearing on sending people to Mars.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:37AM (4 children)

by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:37AM (#1130548)

Yea it does. If you want safe and cheap interplanetary travel, then it would help if your system of physics didn't fail dimensional analysis.

All because men don't feel comfortable hearing the words period or cycle. They fudged physics 100 years ago redefined cycles per second as Hz to be 1/sec.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday March 29 2021, @02:33AM (2 children)

by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday March 29 2021, @02:33AM (#1130577)

Oh right. That's why GPS doesn't work.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @07:16AM (1 child)

by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @07:16AM (#1130656)

Who mentioned GPS?

How bizarre, it is like you have no idea how to respond so just said some default phrase. Bot?

• #### Re:super slow exploration(Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday March 29 2021, @07:58PM

by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday March 29 2021, @07:58PM (#1130893)

You have no idea how any of that fits together do you?

The earth is not flat, no matter how hard you try.

• #### Re:super slow exploration(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:07PM

by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:07PM (#1130708)

Talking of periods, 1 period is the inverse of a cycle, which in turn (pun intended) is the tangent. Hence those nasty infinities that NOBODY wants to talk about.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 1) by khallow on Monday March 29 2021, @05:15AM (19 children)

by khallow (3766) on Monday March 29 2021, @05:15AM (#1130621) Journal

Which is false. The units of h must be J * s / cycle, ie plank's constant is the minimum quanta of energy that is constant across all wavelengths.

Which is false by proper dimensional analysis. Planck's constant, h is indeed Joules cycles. You're just moving units from f to h. It's irrelevant to the physics where the units lie.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @07:21AM (14 children)

by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @07:21AM (#1130660)

It isn't moving anything. It is using the correct units for frequency of cycles/sec instead of 1/sec. While no numerical predictions are altered, this has many consequences such as reinterpreting the "uncertainty principle" as telling us the minimum allowed energy change per cycle. This is described in the link.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 1) by khallow on Monday March 29 2021, @02:37PM (13 children)

by khallow (3766) on Monday March 29 2021, @02:37PM (#1130760) Journal

It isn't moving anything. It is using the correct units for frequency of cycles/sec instead of 1/sec.

In other words, you moved the unit of cycles from h to f. It doesn't change anything. That numerical predictions aren't altered is an indication that nothing has changed.

In the linked paper above, equation 15 is not based on anything ("Again, using the logic from equation (4), the position-momentum relation is written as"). Look at the difference between equation 11 which is a valid expression of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and equation 15 which is not: \delta x * \delta p >= h. (11)

\delta x * \delta p >= h_{\delta} * \delta t. (15)

Where did that \delta t come from? Why are we to suppose that h_{\delta} is a constant? Another leap of logic is to then assign \delta E = (\delta x * \delta p)/\delta t (in (17)), and claim that there is a minimum energy step as a result.

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is a special case of a general idea [wikipedia.org] involving the Fourier transform of noncommuting operators (the momentum p and the energy E are Fourier transforms of the respective position x and time t). This Fourier transform is unique (meaning the transform can be reversed and the inverse Fourier transform also happens to be unique). Energy E already has a Fourier transform t. It can't also have a different second Fourier transform of a constant h. Thus, the inequality of (17) doesn't have a basis in the Fourier transform unlike the other inequalities.

Of course, this is due to a traditional quantum model that is unlikely to hold at extremely small scales of x and t. It is possible that there is a minimum energy step (a discretization of energy) and it may well be your adjusted h in size (as a cycle), but this has not been shown.

Any new, better model, discretized or not, will need to have some sort of Fourier-like transform appearing at the macroscopic level. One big caution is that due to relativity, we are unlikely to have a nice grid pattern of parameters like position and momentum, possibly time and energy too. There will probably be strong limits to what we can discretize.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @03:41PM (12 children)

by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @03:41PM (#1130779)

The SI units of h are J*sec, if you don't even know that I wont bother with the rest.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 1) by khallow on Monday March 29 2021, @04:28PM (11 children)

by khallow (3766) on Monday March 29 2021, @04:28PM (#1130804) Journal
You aren't saying anything relevant.
• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @05:29PM (10 children)

by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @05:29PM (#1130845)

How did I move the unit of cycles from where they don't exist?

The problem is that those units are missing from *both* h and f.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:57AM (9 children)

by khallow (3766) on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:57AM (#1131061) Journal

The problem is that those units are missing from *both* h and f.

Which is fine as long as they are either both missing or both present. Multiply and divide by the same unit cancels.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:34AM (8 children)

by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:34AM (#1131071)

No, it is not fine if the cycle unit is missing. It misleads people to interpret the equations incorrectly.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @08:10AM (7 children)

by khallow (3766) on Tuesday March 30 2021, @08:10AM (#1131117) Journal

No, it is not fine if the cycle unit is missing.

What's missing about a "cycle unit" that automatically cancels out? It's never present in the first place!

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @11:46AM (1 child)

by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @11:46AM (#1131150)

It doesn't "automatically cancel out".

We choose the units of the constant so that it does. And those units tell us the meaning of the constant.

• #### Re:super slow exploration(Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:23PM

by khallow (3766) on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:23PM (#1131224) Journal

It doesn't "automatically cancel out".

We choose the units of the constant so that it does.

It would not be E= hf, otherwise.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @01:24PM (4 children)

by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @01:24PM (#1131182)

By dropping cycles from the units of frequency you have changed the meaning of Planck's constant (and probably others as well).

All the math works out the same but now everyone is confused about what the numbers mean so everything seems "spooky" and non-intuitive.

• #### Re:super slow exploration(Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:26PM

by khallow (3766) on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:26PM (#1131226) Journal

By dropping cycles from the units of frequency you have changed the meaning of Planck's constant (and probably others as well).

All the math works out the same but now everyone is confused about what the numbers mean so everything seems "spooky" and non-intuitive.

"All the math works out the same" says it all. This is irrelevant to the model and the math of that model.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:36PM (2 children)

by khallow (3766) on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:36PM (#1131235) Journal
Sorry, trying this again.

By dropping cycles from the units of frequency you have changed the meaning of Planck's constant (and probably others as well).

No, we haven't!

All the math works out the same but now everyone is confused about what the numbers mean so everything seems "spooky" and non-intuitive.

"All the math works out the same" says it all. This is irrelevant to the model and the math of that model.

I can't believe there's all this noise over a simple two factor equation, much less in a rocket discussion where even the equation is completely irrelevant. Let me guess, this was all about just dropping a link to that paper?

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:09PM (1 child)

by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:09PM (#1131247)

The units of a constant tell you what it represents.

• #### Re:super slow exploration(Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:54PM

by khallow (3766) on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:54PM (#1131270) Journal

The units of a constant tell you what it represents.

Again, irrelevant since it doesn't matter if "cycles" is or isn't part of those units.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday March 29 2021, @08:00PM (3 children)

by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday March 29 2021, @08:00PM (#1130894)

Don't bother.

That A/C is a flat earther, and is attempting to prove the earth is flat and that we don't know how rockets work. (Or something. He's a weirdo)

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @11:49AM (2 children)

by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @11:49AM (#1131153)

No one mentioned flat earth or rockets not working. You might be the dumbest person posting here, dumber than deathmonkey who can do nothing but parrot talking points. You parrot standard "debunkings" about unrelated topics.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:38PM (1 child)

by khallow (3766) on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:38PM (#1131236) Journal
Even if that were somehow true, it doesn't mean that PartTimeZombie got this wrong. It's pretty weird to bring up the completely irrelevant photoelectric model in a discussion about rockets. Flat Earthing is a good explanation for the weirdness.
• #### Re:super slow exploration(Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday March 30 2021, @09:30PM

by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday March 30 2021, @09:30PM (#1131372)

Its why he posts as A/C. I believe politicians call it "plausible deniability".

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 2) by EvilSS on Monday March 29 2021, @02:32PM (3 children)

by EvilSS (1456) on Monday March 29 2021, @02:32PM (#1130756)
We have very few rovers but lots and lots of people. Why don't we stop with the rovers and start sending people instead. Eventually one group will manage to not die. Probably.
• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 1) by khallow on Monday March 29 2021, @03:20PM (2 children)

by khallow (3766) on Monday March 29 2021, @03:20PM (#1130774) Journal

Why don't we stop with the rovers and start sending people instead. Eventually one group will manage to not die.

Odds are good that it'll be the first group too that survives. We have figured out problems like this before. Rovers have their place, when they are used sensibly. But sending one or two rovers roughly every decade is not such use.

Unmanned vehicle use in the Apollo Program is instructive. They sent 21 probe missions (7 impactors (plus two that failed on liftoff), 5 to the Moon as part of the Apollo program over an eight year period (1961-1968), 5 [wikipedia.org]orbiters [wikipedia.org], and 6 landers [wikipedia.org]) to scout out potential landing sites. Mars has longer waits between launch windows (2 years instead of a month), but the above tempo would still be feasible.

Any effective attempt to land people will likely have a surge of unmanned missions prior to the first person landing, just because they'll need lots of information that isn't gathered now! And a number of plans for manned missions involve working unmanned infrastructure (like a methane extraction plant or deployed power plants, solar or nuclear) before the first manned mission launches.

Let's not make the mistake that we're doing anything concrete towards manned exploration of Mars at present. It's hobby level. Hopefully, SLS will die in the next decade without replacement, and we can refocus the world's resources better towards important goals like eventual space colonization.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 2) by EvilSS on Tuesday March 30 2021, @02:18PM (1 child)

by EvilSS (1456) on Tuesday March 30 2021, @02:18PM (#1131203)
Again though, landers are really expensive, people are a dime a dozen. Hell, you can hardly swing a dead cat and avoid hitting a few. It would be cheaper and faster to just lob humans at the rusty rock than expensive tech. Heck, we could rename the planet Marstralia and start sending prisoners. That would be a net profit!
• #### Re:super slow exploration(Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:40PM

by khallow (3766) on Tuesday March 30 2021, @03:40PM (#1131238) Journal
The joke is ruined by noting that the cost of getting people off of Earth's surface alone is pretty expensive. You've already done much of the work of a proper mission.
• #### Re:super slow exploration(Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday March 29 2021, @04:59PM

by Freeman (732) on Monday March 29 2021, @04:59PM (#1130830) Journal

• #### Re:mass is time and money(Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:14AM

by khallow (3766) on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:14AM (#1131067) Journal

For comparison: Assuming worst case pricing of \$100 million per launch and limited to a single tower, for the same price as one SLS launch SpaceX should be able to launch 10 Starships, and 1 Starship tanker ten times, sending 1500 tonnes, or 3.3 million pounds, to Mars each 18 month window. That is the difference that flushing your money has on how much mass you can send.

And IMHO SpaceX could do that with a few year build up. No screwing around for another 30 years, start making it happen in say the 2024 launch window (there's a lot of build up that needs to be done to any serious Mars effort, including technology demonstrations).

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 2) by HiThere on Monday March 29 2021, @02:16PM (2 children)

by HiThere (866) on Monday March 29 2021, @02:16PM (#1130744) Journal

There's a problem with the 2 year lag in supplies arriving once you know you need them.

We don't yet have a "nearly closed ecosystem" for use in space. And it's both really slow and really expensive to send mass that far. This is one reason a Lunar base would make sense as a first step, even though it probably couldn't develop into something self-sufficient. (Well, actually it could, but it will take many more advances before it's practical.)

FWIW, my eventual goal is mobile cities in space with "nearly closed ecosystems". Nearly closed enough that they can "live off the land". And don't think of mobile as fast. To avoid problems with meteors, etc. they will need to travel at close to the rate of the local drift, but to keep entering new areas with unused resources they'll need to travel at a slightly different speed. I'd like them to live in the Oort clouds until they decide to take off for other areas, but that will probably require controlled fusion. (Don't think James Blish, think George Zebrowski...but he put more speed on his Megalife than I think plausible.) And my answer to Fermi's paradox is that once they've lived a few decades in a space city, nobody wants to live on a planet. (But we might look for abandoned mines out in the Oort clouds.)

--
Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
• #### Re:moon baseRe:moon base(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @06:39PM (1 child)

by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @06:39PM (#1130883)

A manned moon base can never be fully self-sufficient as there is no known source of chlorine, but you are correct that it is ideal both for practice and as a supply base for the materials it can provide. All airless bodies have similar issues. Mars can become self-sufficient given time but that is another major hurdle on its own.

• #### Re:moon base(Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:42AM

by khallow (3766) on Tuesday March 30 2021, @04:42AM (#1131073) Journal

A manned moon base can never be fully self-sufficient as there is no known source of chlorine

While it is presently unknown, my take is that there's probably deep crust sources of chlorine in the Moon. All that volcanism is chemically similar to volcanism on Earth (which often has a lot of chlorine and fluorine in it, such as at Iceland), and we know from the dispersion of some lava eruptions on the Moon, that at one point it did have considerable volatiles in the magma source to cause that dispersion. So it is reasonable to expect that some of these volatiles are still trapped in the Moon or chemically bonded to igneous rock.

A stronger case can be made for hydrogen and nitrogen which both are similarly scarce on the Moon's surface, but required in far greater quantities.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:09PM (1 child)

by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:09PM (#1130441)

Moron.. the results clearly demonstrate that it only rains every 50 years on Mars. Elon's going to be drinking his piss and wishing he'd stayed on Earth.

• #### Re:drinking(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @06:40AM

by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @06:40AM (#1130642)

Every astronaut that stays on the ISS is drinking their own piss, but they've all been so impressed by the view that nobody seems to have noticed. I think Elon will be fine as long as he stays away from the Flavor-aid.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 3, Touché) by RS3 on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:15PM (2 children)

by RS3 (6367) on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:15PM (#1130443)

So a cubic foot of soil gets you about a liter of water.

Stated another way, a cubic meter of soil gets you about 37.31662711 quarts of water.

(large grin!)

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @05:07AM (1 child)

by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @05:07AM (#1130616)

Liter and foot are are both regularly used in America, so it creates a nice clean metric that people can also intuitively understand the scale of.

• #### Re:super slow exploration(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:16PM

by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:16PM (#1130714)

It helps that a liter jug is about the same as a foot.

• #### Re:super slow explorationRe:super slow exploration(Score: 2) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:53PM (1 child)

by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:53PM (#1130460)

I seem to remember Steve Squyres saying that if he were on the planet he could do a rover's sol's work in 45 seconds.

• #### Re:super slow exploration(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:17PM

by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @01:17PM (#1130715)

If Steve Squyres were to go back in time 500 years, he would be the smartest man in the world.