On its sixth flight and first intended as an operational scouting mission for Perseverance, the Mars helicopter Ingenuity had problems, requiring an emergency landing.
The trouble cropped up about a minute into the helicopter’s sixth test flight last Saturday at an altitude of 33 feet (10 meters). One of the numerous pictures taken by an on-board camera did not register in the navigation system, throwing the entire timing sequence off and confusing the craft about its location.
Ingenuity began tilting back and forth as much as 20 degrees and suffered power consumption spikes, according to Havard Grip, the helicopter’s chief pilot.
A built-in system to provide extra margin for stability “came to the rescue,” he wrote in an online status update. The helicopter landed within 16 feet (5 meters) of its intended touchdown site.
Engineers are presently trouble-shooting the issue, which they suspect was a “navigation timing error.”
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.
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