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I am now in the third week of my annual February birthday fund-raising drive. The first two weeks were good, but not record-setting.


There are still two weeks left in this campaign however. If you have been a regular reader and a fan of my work and have not yet donated or subscribed, please consider doing so. I take no ads, I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands (most of the time). Thus, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.


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1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


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Ingenuity completes 43rd flight on Mars, the longest in almost a year

Overview map
Click for interactive map.

The Mars helicopter Ingenuity today successfully completed its 43rd flight on Mars, traveling 1,280 feet for 2 minutes and 26 seconds.

The green dot on the map to the right marks Ingenuity’s position before the flight, with the green lines marking the approximate direction and distance flown. The Perseverance/Ingenuity team has not yet updated its interactive map, so the precise landing spot is not yet available.

This flight was the helicopter’s longest since April 2021, just before the onset of the long six-month-long Martian winter. At that time Ingenuity completed its 28th flight, traveling 1,371 feet. Since then engineers struggled to keep Ingenuity alive during the dark winter, a task made more difficult due to an unexpected higher winter dust storm season.

Winter however is over, the helicopter is now fully charging with no problem, and has new flight software that allows it to go higher and over rougher terrain. In fact, like the last flight, Ingenuity flew farther and longer than planned, as it had been programmed to go 1,235 feet for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. That extra 45 feet and 9 seconds were likely used by the helicopter to locate a safe landing spot.

For perspective, Ingenuity’s total mission was originally planned to last only 30 days, and complete about a half dozen test flights merely to prove the concept of flight on Mars was possible. It has now lasted two years, completed 43 flights, and traveled almost five and a half miles. An amazing engineering achievement by JPL’s engineering team.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


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