Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

 
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Ingenuity completes fifth flight; lands in new location

On May 7th, 2021 Ingenuity completed its fifth flight on Mars, this time landing at a new location for the first time.

The robot craft took off at ‘Wright Brothers Field’ – the same spot where the it had risen and landed on all its other flights – but landed at an airfield 423 feet (129 metres) to the south. Landing in a new place is another first for the rotorcraft.

This new landing site places the helicopter in a good position to leap frog along with Perseverance as it moves south in this general area studying the floor of Jezero Crater.

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27 comments

  • Chris

    Hi Bob,

    Has NASA investigated at all about how much energy has been necessary to fly Ingenuity? In other words, if the Martian atmosphere were less dense flight would be harder or impossible. If it is more dense then flight should be easier and require less power and energy.
    I wonder if they can can record and then review power required during flight and at altitude?

  • Waiting for the TV show/cartoon: “Perseverance & Ingenuity”, or, more likely “Percy & Ingie”.

    Sitcom: “Hey, who was that ‘copter I saw you with?” “That wasn’t a ‘copter, that was a drone!”

    Action/Adventure: Well, maybe not, as JPL would prefer neither.

    Anime: Here are some possibilities.

    Probably an educational program. Hello, NASA.

  • Lee Stevenson

    I absolutely love this little drone… ( And predicted a mission extension some time ago;-) … On a tangential note… I very rarely watch anything on YouTube ( sorry Wayne!) , indeed I very rarely watch TV, but I listen to an awful lot of spoken word content.. I find it easier to digest and to consume while doing other tasks. A podcast I have recently stumbled upon is the “wemartians” podcast… Interviews every episode with scientists directly involved with all aspects of Mars exploration. Check it out guys, you won’t be disappointed!
    https://wemartians.com/

  • Lee Stevenson

    @Chris, I’m sure they have deeply investigated the power needed to fly a drone on Mars, although I’m not sure if the details are public… That data is probably being used for a PHD thesis. I do know that the margins are VERY fine… Ingenuity cannot fly very high because the atmosphere thins out very rapidly the higher you get. I imagine this means that drones will be much more effective on the Mars lowlands.. let’s look forward to swarms of the buggers streaming HD video, hopefully in our lifetimes!

  • Mike Borgelt

    “Ingenuity cannot fly very high because the atmosphere thins out very rapidly the higher you get”

    Wrong and common mistake. Because of the lower gravity the Martian atmosphere thins out less rapidly than on Earth.

  • Lee Stevenson

    @Mike Borgelt, Mars is very much colder than earth, resulting in, to the best of my knowledge, a relatively dense surface layer of CO2, then a very variable upper atmosphere, the density of which varies dramatically with sunlight, dust, season etc…. I’m pretty sure that this is the case, and that ingenuity has a low ceiling for this reason. I’m always open to being proven wrong tho.

  • Lee Stevenson

    Just to add …. I am literally talking 10s of meters rather than hundreds….. Once again, I could be wrong, but it’s more fun to debate than do a Google search ;-)

  • wayne

    Lee–
    oh yeah…. everyone who doesn’t already have a PhD, is getting one from this mission.

    As to sitting on the data (and providing crummy video, I’ll say it again, and again, and again; crummy video)– I just hope all these people realize their jobs are paid for by American taxpayers, who were forced at the barrel of a gun to pay up.

  • Lee Stevenson

    Wayne… I have nothing but admiration for your need for video…. But I have to say, there are other mediums of information. If you can handle reading, have a bit of a search for the scientific data from ingenuity, there is a lot out there!. I have to ask, why are you so annoyed? This little drone is doing amazeballs “out of the ballpark” business on Mars, better than was publicly expected, and you are grumbling about your 0.5% of the already low tax you have paid towards it? I will never understand Yanks… We look the same, but that’s the only common denominator.

  • Lee Stevenson

    I only just registered this bit of the comment… Somewhat “after the fact”… Sorry.. anyway “American taxpayers, who were forced at the barrel of a gun to pay up”. .. are you having a bad day? Crazy tho I know the US is, I’m pretty sure that you pay taxes like the rest of the world .. as you go, and the difference is worked out in April. What are you crying about? No one is pointing a gun at you, ( most of the civilised world doesn’t carry guns…) , You pay a very low level of income tax compared to Europe, and have the most admired space agency in the world. I can only presume you had no milk for your cereal this morning.

  • wayne

    Lee-
    (my federal tax rate is well above the 0.5% you imagine I pay. )
    Ever heard of Al Capone?
    He didn’t go to federal prison for selling alcohol, prostitution, or gambling, he went to prison for tax-evasion.
    –Our Constitution originally prohibited taxing peoples income— the 16th Amendment breached that firewall. (now we have ‘progressive’ federal taxes)

    Article 1 Section 9 Clause 4
    “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”

  • wayne

    Dave Smith / Michael Malice
    “The Red Pill”
    December 2020
    https://youtu.be/8TBM0-OMsJE?t=28

    “Everything you perceive to be reality is {expletive deleted}. And it’s {expletive deleted} to enslave you. It’s not {expletive deleted} to help you, it’s {expletive deleted} to enslave you.”

  • Lee Stevenson

    @ Wayne, I said, quote, “grumbling about your 0.5% of the already low tax you have paid” , not that you pay 0.5% tax. The figure always quoted, and that I have never heard doubted is than NASA costs less than half a percent of tax dollars. And you really want to pay no taxes? There is many an argument to be made ( and I have had most of them thrown at me on here!) For lower taxation, but I have never heard anyone crying out for zero taxation! Roads? Emergency services? National defense? Research and development? ( Of which NASA is surely a world leader). It is also ironic, given my comments above, that you once again post a YouTube video to somehow help defend your slightly baffling position. Finally,what are you really complaining about? It seems to me that you are just nashing your teeth because the video from ingenuity thus far released is not up to the quality you have come to expect thru the unhealth amount of time you must spend on YouTube. I can imagine that uploading video via the rover is very time consuming, given the limited bandwidth. Try a little patience. It’s a helicopter, on Mars! And built in the US! What’s not to love?

  • Chris

    OK I’m seeing a pattern here:

    Original question on — is Ingenuity power data available and can it tell us something about Martian atmosphere. —>
    Debate on what atmosphere is and why – gravity vs thermal vs atmosphere distribution —->
    Google knows all! And will answer atmosphere questions—>
    Conspiracy on data being withheld? —->
    Complaints about video performance from Little Toaster that is 30+million miles away and weights what 4 lbs?.—->
    International debate on taxes! —->
    Point to US Constitution vs Income Tax —->
    Insert required “Wayne Video” (always thought provoking by the way). – this one is on the “Red Pill” —->
    International debate on taxes vs national science performance vs taxes at all!!

    THIS is why I love this site!!

    All in jest gents!

  • Lee Stevenson

    @Chris, thank you for your comment! You just made me spit my afternoon beer all over the table of my local bar! ( Don’t judge me, I’ve taken a week’s semester this week, spring has arrived, the sun is shining, and I turn 50 earth orbits tomorrow, so I feel I’m entitled to a few afternoons in the sun with a couple of cold ones!). Anyway, your comment is hilarious, and also bang on the nail… This is why I love this site also! (I should add that Bob’s input is occasionally enlightening and interesting also ;-)

  • wayne

    Chris–
    Good, stuff!
    — a repeat from me from another thread:
    “How Does NASA Get Video From Mars? How fast is the Martian bandwidth?”
    February 2021
    https://youtu.be/pXJ7sdAB-Wg
    21:57
    –>said 4lb Toaster, 30 million miles away, isn’t doing the heavy lifting on high-quality video transmission.

    MROrbiter— 4 megabits/sec
    Maven — 2 megabits/sec
    Trace Gas Orbiter -2 megabits/sec
    Mars Odyssey — 256k bits/sec
    Mars Express — 230k bits/sec

    Lee–
    (happy b-day, I’m a good decade older than you.)
    I don’t recall saying I want to pay 0% in taxes. I pointed out that the Tax Collector has a monopoly on violence toward taxpayers. I don’t have a choice to pay Federal (State or Local) taxes, if I refuse, the Man will Eventually come and Take me Away, and throw me in a prison cell. If I refuse to pay my property-taxes (which went up 45% this cycle) the police will eventually come to my house and throw all my stuff into the street, and then auction off my (completely paid off) house on the courthouse steps.
    –Doesn’t matter if I like certain programs, I don’t get to fund the federal (or State, or Local) government on an ala-cart basis.

    More and more, I’m becoming an anarcho-capitalist, cuz’ the major problem with Conservatives (of which I am a fellow-traveler) is, ‘we’ think if ‘we’ just follow-the-rules, everything will be OK. (How’s that been working out for us?)
    That only works when the Rules aren’t changed, and our Country is a million light-years away from how it was designed to run.
    –What purpose does our (Federal) Senate serve? It was designed to represent the respective State legislatures. The (Federal) House of Reps was designed to be directly elected by the people they serve, not the Senate.

    And…. I am, an unapologetic TV-Baby. I fully intend to extract as much video as I am able, from whatever source, right up until the time they won’t let me.

  • Lee Stevenson

    @wayne, thanks for the bday wishes… Remember 60 is the new 50, so we are not so far removed ;-) I don’t even pretend to have any idea how the actual running of your country operates, it seems from this distance to be a bit of a mess, state level, federal, county… I have no idea…. ( And to be honest, I’m no more interested than you are in the Swedish or UK systems! ), But I believe taxes MUST be paid, why should anyone get benefit from the state, be that the social welfare I advocate, or the military industrial complex that the US loves so much, if they have not paid into the pot? If you believe in the need for a system of govenence, you must believe that it should be paid for by everyone who falls under that system. Avoiding paying is theft from every other tax payer under that system. And they should be punished just like any other thief. The fact that gangsters have been jailed under this premise speakers more about the lackings of the judicial system regarding the crimes the gangsters committed than it does the tax laws over there. ( Plus, to be honest, I’ve always believed the best tools are the tools you have to hand..)

  • Lee Stevenson

    I’m actually spending this evening scratching my head and thinking about taxation… It gets quite deep when you think about it.. let’s for a second disregard my views on social welfare, I still see very little room for any kind of “ala cart” tax system. The Swedish system has a very small amount per month which goes to the Swedish church, and is optional, although you have to opt out rather than in. ( I have obviously opted out), but I can think of nothing more that I could opt out of, that I wouldn’t benefit from at some point… Foreign aid springs to mind, but a better world benefits us all, and a crown spent now could benefit my children 10fold…, Uncertain, but hardly something anyone could opt out of. The money I pay into social healthcare is up for debate I guess, but in a society where (rightly) everyone is entitled to the right to life, the option to opt out is problematic… If your living on a knife edge you cut your expenses as much as you can.. you cut your health insurance, you fall ill. You are either left to die, or someone else pays for your healthcare. I see no better option than transparent taxation, administered by elected officials, and perhaps split nationally ( major infrastructure, national healthcare, defence), and locally to address local needs… In short, unfortunately, I can’t really even imagine a better system than is currently in place. ( Unless a wealth tax, universal basic income and massive investment in health and social housing and welfare float your boat, but I know I sail those waters alone on this site ;-)

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson wrote: “You pay a very low level of income tax compared to Europe, and have the most admired space agency in the world. I can only presume you had no milk for your cereal this morning.

    The relatively low taxes are why we Americans are so prolific in our achievements. We have enough left over to not only live our lives but to invest in new ideas. Europe has more people than the U.S., but the U.S. does more innovation, funds more of the world, and aids more, too. We have our priorities better shaped than the rest of the world, and it comes from the original version of the Constitution in which the federal government could not tax individuals, leaving us the freedom to live and innovate as we pleased. Europe, not so much.

    What’s not to love?

    That is the attitude that prevents improvement. wayne’s attitude encourages improvement. He sees where improvement can be made and suggests that it should be done, or he could do it himself. He is not satisfied with the status quo, or with sub-par governance even at our low price of government, but Europeans seem complacent with costly, sub-par governance.

    why should anyone get benefit from the state, be that the social welfare I advocate, or the military industrial complex that the US loves so much, if they have not paid into the pot?

    Because they have not capability to pay into the pot. I know a 69-year-old who never grew up enough to hold a job. He has a 40-year-old friend who can barely hold a job. They both like to play “pop my belly” like my nephews did back when they were four or five years old.

    Not everyone who receives government assistance is capable of repaying.

    And yet, we Americans can care for such people on lower taxes than Europeans. Efficiency is a good thing, and it belongs in government, too. It leaves plenty left over for the rest of what we do best.

    Chris,
    This article describes the power and some engineering.
    https://mars.nasa.gov/technology/helicopter/status/298/what-were-learning-about-ingenuitys-flight-control-and-aerodynamic-performance/
    I’m pretty sure that I got this in another thread from someone commenting on this site.

  • Edward: You got it from one of my posts. :)

  • Lee Stevenson

    @Edward…… Are you genuinely using, quote, “Not everyone who receives government assistance is capable of repaying.” Against me as an argument???? I was running a little thought experiment in my earlier comment!! The very words you use are the same words I use when defending the welfare system we have here, which you have criticized me for so many times!!! My mind is genuinely blown!! Pmsl!! . I will also say that the standard of care given is WAY better, and ease of access for the needy is WAY easier here, specifically in Sweden, and indeed in the UK, than it is in the US. Your comment, quote “Europe has more people than the U.S., but the U.S. does more innovation” also speaks volumes regarding your understanding of the world. Europe is a continent, not a country. Indeed, it is many countries, most of which are many centuries older than yours. Many of which are just as, if not more innovative than the US. It is hard for me to argue with a group of people who are willing at the drop of a hat, to condemn the very land they live in… For whatever reasons, but will then fight like a bulldog to defend it, if given the slightest smell of criticism. A quote of your quote of my quote.. ( I know this is getting very “meta”) ““What’s not to love?”…. A helicopter…. On Mars…. An American built little thingy, flying around on Mars! A freeking drone on Mars! Built by you guys!! Way to go USA! You have made history, you have broken new ground, you have achieved something wonderful and unique and something that will go down in history, you dared a thing, and the thing worked better than officially expected! What’s not to love???? I do find you guys over there very strange from time to time…. I guess never the ‘twain shall meet…. But this space stuff…. Your actually very good at it, and if I were a US tax payer, I wouldn’t begrudge my 0.5% going to NASA…

  • Lee Stevenson

    You know when it’s 1am, and your reading back thru what you wrote, just to make sure it makes sense, and parses out, and addresses the points argued against you?… And then you see, quote, “We have our priorities better shaped than the rest of the world’ , regarding the US…. And you have a little giggle…. I admire the US for many reasons, I have visited and experienced for myself, ( more than can be said for anyone reading this regarding Sweden…. Where did “local fluff” go? ) , But I gotta say boys, it’s been quite a few years since the US had its priorities concidered better shaped than the rest of the world, by the rest of the world.

  • it’s been quite a few years since the US had its priorities concidered better shaped than the rest of the world
    I must agree – however, that’s the point of low taxes and leaving things up to not-government: It doesn’t matter how screwed up the government priorities are because it doesn’t do much.

    Our national government is FAR too large and doing FAR too much. How you can tell: We care what it is doing.

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson,
    You asked: “Are you genuinely using, quote, “Not everyone who receives government assistance is capable of repaying.” Against me as an argument????

    No. The argument is “And yet, we Americans can care for such people on lower taxes than Europeans. Efficiency is a good thing, and it belongs in government, too. It leaves plenty left over for the rest of what we do best.” Which should have read: it leaves plenty left over for the rest for what we do best.

    Despite not everyone paying into the system, we still do not need to overtax ourselves in order to care for them.

    You really don’t seem to understand what you read, preferring to see what you want to see and disregarding the other person’s point.

    I will also say that the standard of care given is WAY better, and ease of access for the needy is WAY easier here, specifically in Sweden, and indeed in the UK, than it is in the US.

    Your problem is that you visited one part of the U.S. and assume that the country is homogenous. Instead, the part that you visited was put out of business by the socialists, here, and the able-bodied people of that area were not willing to go to where the work is, so they are poor yet not eligible for the same level of care as my friend. They could care for themselves but choose to leech off the rest of us instead. They are not needy, they are unwilling, preferring the “to each according to his need” rather than the “from each according to his ability” part of socialism.

    Europe is a continent, not a country. Indeed, it is many countries, most of which are many centuries older than yours. Many of which are just as, if not more innovative than the US.

    And yet, in that same paragraph, you praise the U.S. for being more innovative than those other countries. I’m glad that you cleared up that an entire continent is not as innovative as a single American country. It must be that inherent freedom thing rather than the freedom granted to the people by the government thing. You may think that older is better, but the very definition of innovation is newness. Our relatively new government is an innovation, and a population of 1/3 as many people as the non-country of Europe really are more innovative. We naturally have the freedom to innovate, whereas Europeans feel that their countries have to grant them their freedom. It is much like the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which grants rights to people, not acknowledges that the rights are inherent and that governments cannot take them away. Even the UN acknowledges that the rights can be taken away on a whim, in Article 29 Section 3: “These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

    It is hard for me to argue with a group of people who are willing at the drop of a hat, to condemn the very land they live in…

    This is more of your inability to comprehend. We do not condemn the land, we condemn the socialism that is taking over the land. It is even harder to argue with someone who does not understand the argument.

    But I gotta say boys, it’s been quite a few years since the US had its priorities concidered better shaped than the rest of the world, by the rest of the world.

    So, are you agreeing with me that the socialism that is taking over the U.S. is bad, that it is destroying the better priorities, that it is bringing the bad priorities of the rest of the world?

    Two government controlled space industries reverted from reusable space planes to expensive Apollo-like expendable rockets. Five free market capitalist space companies are working on affordable reusable rockets, all of them American. Free market capitalism shows that there is more demand for space services than government control can supply:
    https://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/points-of-information/nasa-commercial-demand-exceeds-supply-at-iss/

    We left government in charge, and all we got was what government wanted. Now that We the People are taking charge, we are starting to get what we want.

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson,
    You keep saying things like: “But I gotta say boys, it’s been quite a few years since the US had its priorities concidered better shaped than the rest of the world, by the rest of the world.”

    You keep telling us how much better the U.S. was years or decades ago, but you refuse to acknowledge that the U.S. keeps getting worse the more socialist it becomes. For instance, socialism’s priorities are worse than free market capitalism’s priorities. Socialism focuses on the government and central control, whereas free market capitalism focuses on the people, especially the customers — the market (which is pretty much everybody). Socialism is only as innovative as the government allows, but free market capitalism is as innovative as the market desires.

    America is sliding downhill, and you have noticed that. You continually tell us so. But we also acknowledge that it is going downhill, and we see that the reason is socialism. You are unwilling to admit that as America becomes more socialist it becomes less what you have liked about it. It is also less than we liked about it, too. Then you mock us with lines like: “It is hard for me to argue with a group of people who are willing at the drop of a hat, to condemn the very land they live in…

    We condemn the very thing that makes America less than you like it to be, yet you say that that very problem makes it hard for you to argue with us. The difficulty is that you don’t want to condemn the socialism that destroys what you have considered the good parts of the U.S. You are too emotionally attached to socialism to admit that it is destroying the goodness of America.

    This group of people, on BTB, have recently argued that we fear that the socialism that is taking over our country will prevent our commercial space industry from doing business in space. Is that also hard for you to argue? You don’t want to argue against socialism, but it is hard to make any other argument, which is why you find it hard to argue with us.

  • mkent

    …it’s been quite a few years since the US had its priorities concidered better shaped than the rest of the world, by the rest of the world.

    The world has *never* considered American priorities as anything but screwed up, from the very day of our founding. When we declared that a free people can govern themselves, almost the entire rest of the world was ruled by kings and emperors. The whole concept of individual rights as set forth in the Declaration was foreign to them. But that’s on them, not us.

    “Europe has more people than the U.S., but the U.S. does more innovation” also speaks volumes regarding your understanding of the world. Europe is a continent, not a country.

    You say you don’t really understand our system, and you’re right. That you think your statement here contrasts Europe with the United States proves it.

    The United States is a federation of semi-independent states. That’s why we have a federal government, not a national one. The federal government is restricted by the Constitution to matters of national defense, foreign policy, and interstate commerce. The states govern all the rest. Well, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

    And I don’t think you really want to get into a conversation about innovation where Europe is compared to America.

  • Edward

    mkent, You thought “And I don’t think you really want to get into a conversation about innovation where Europe is compared to America.

    You are right. It would be too easy. We lead in scientific and cultural innovation:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuv0K8H8ILM#t=317

    What a contrast.

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