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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.


Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


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All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


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  • 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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