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posted by martyb on Sunday April 11 2021, @10:50PM   Printer-friendly
from the good-things-come-to-those-who-wait dept.

Straight from NASA we have word of a delay in the first flight of Ingenuity on Mars.

Mars Helicopter Flight Delayed To No Earlier Than April 14 - Nasa Mars:

Based on data from the Ingenuity Mars helicopter that arrived late Friday night, NASA has chosen to reschedule the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter's first experimental flight to no earlier than April 14.

During a high-speed spin test of the rotors on Friday, the command sequence controlling the test ended early due to a "watchdog" timer expiration. This occurred as it was trying to transition the flight computer from 'Pre-Flight' to 'Flight' mode. The helicopter is safe and healthy and communicated its full telemetry set to Earth.

The watchdog timer oversees the command sequence and alerts the system to any potential issues. It helps the system stay safe by not proceeding if an issue is observed and worked as planned.

The helicopter team is reviewing telemetry to diagnose and understand the issue. Following that, they will reschedule the full-speed test.

NASA has a web site devoted to Ingenuity.

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12 2021, @05:19PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12 2021, @05:19PM (#1136527)

    People mistakenly cite the MCO failure as some statement about the superiority of metric over imperial, but you very correctly point out that it had nothing to do with units and everything to do with a systems engineering failure. Somewhere there was a Systems Requirement Document and interface documents (software and hardware). And systems integration and test (I&T) would have been set up to test every interface, both software and hardware. Whatever that reason was that let this slip through, there should have been some SE heads that rolled.

    I feel your general space/NASA frustration because the Apollo program was still running when I was a kid, but you also need to put a good chunk of the blame on all us citizens, not just NASA. Apollo was exciting, captivating, it was a race! Everyone was excited because they like races, especially for something really amazing that has never been done before. But once it was done? Meh, "been there, done that." They weren't even televising the launch of Apollo 13 and the public moved on until the oxygen tank blew, then it became a story! Human intrigue, danger, will they make it or will they not?? All exciting stuff, but very tangential to anything to do with space. That of course ended with a happy ending and then public stopped caring. Apollo-Soyuz was kind of neat, but they killed it after 17 because nobody cared (they would have killed it after 16, but 17 was all ready to go and most of the costs sunk).

    If you want broad public support, you'll need to give the populace a reason to care. Bouncing around collecting rocks isn't that sexy. There will be a lot of interest when the first attempts to Mars are made, but it will turn out the same way. I'm not quite sure what it will be like when people go back to the Moon. First one will be milked for all it is worth (live interviews on the morning news shows, etc.), but I don't see public interest in it for the long haul because frankly, real life isn't as sexy as what you can do on a green screen.

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