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Ingenuity unfolded and ready for placement on ground

Ingenuity unfolded
Click for full image.

The photo to the right, taken yesterday, shows Perseverance’s Ingenuity helicopter now vertical with its legs deployed, hanging from the bottom of the rover and ready for placement on the ground.

The next step will be drop Ingenuity those last few inches. Once released Perseverance will quickly drive away, as it will no longer be providing power to the helicopter and will instead be blocking its solar panels from sunlight.

Perseverance will then proceed to its lookout post while engineers check out Ingenuity to make sure all is working.

The targeted flight date remains April 8th.

UPDATE: JPL just announced that it is delaying Ingenuity’s flight to April 11th. The announcement was done by a tweet, so provided no explanation as to why JPL decided to delay three days.

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.


  • Joe

    This is exciting. I know they want to go through a lot of checkouts but this is a long time to get a drone up and running. Let’s see some flight. On Mars!

  • mkent

    The targeted flight date remains April 8th.

    Nope. April 11th.

  • Richard M

    Do any of Perseverance’s cameras have the capability to take video, or can they only do still shots only?

  • Richard M: I have been trying to get this question answered for myself. From what I can tell, none of the camera shoot video, but I think it likely that they will set one camera to take many repeated images to create a movie, much as was done during the landing.

  • Ray Van Dune

    I hope that if there is no proper video, there will at least be a high-speed data link, so that if something goes wrong aerodynamically they will be able to understand it.

    I do have a nagging concern that even with the efforts at simulation in a vacuum chamber on Earth, something could go wrong, especially given the super-high blade speeds needed to generate lift on Mars!

  • We all must recognize that this flight test is exactly comparable to what SpaceX is doing with Starship, and carries the same risks.

  • Robert Zimmerman noted: “. . . and carries the same risks.”

    Well, at least the crater will be in the right place.

  • Looking at the image: mental picture of a Jawa Landcruiser releasing a droid.

    But ‘This is real, and that’s a movie’.

  • Edward_2

    Does Ingenuity have the ability to right itself if it tips onto its side?

    How does Perserverance communicate to Earth. Directly from Perseverance to Earth – to an orbiter and then to Earth?

  • Richard M

    Does Ingenuity have the ability to right itself if it tips onto its side?

    From what I’ve read, not, it does not. The designers instead tried to minimize the probability through a wide leg base, low center of gravity and flight control software. I suppose it is theoretically possible that Perseverance, aka Percy could be driven over to use its robotic arm to nudge it right side up, but it is not clear whether mission managers would consider doing so worth the time and risks… It’s just a technology demonstrator, after all. (You can bet JPL has burned a lot of brain cells and electrons on the possibility over the last few years.)

    How does Perserverance communicate to Earth. Directly from Perseverance to Earth – to an orbiter and then to Earth?

    It has the ability to do so either way via its UHF and two X-Band antennas, but the preference is to do it through one of the orbiters – Percy can transmit far more data that way, because the orbiters have much more powerful transmitters. But obviously JPL and NASA always wanted Percy to have the ability to communicate directly, since the orbiters might all fail (actually, likely *will* fail) before Percy’s mission ends in the late 2030’s.

  • Picking up what Richard M is putting down: I like ‘Percy’ for the rover. Although, as the name is ‘Perseverance’, it seems a more feminine name (Faith, Hope, Charity, et al). And by Western tradition, anything complicated is considered female.

    Occurs to me that naming a vehicle prior to the demonstration is tempting fate, a bit. Recall Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’, which didn’t.

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