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Mars Ingenuity flight delayed after rotor test fails

Mars Ingenuity flight delayed after rotor test fails

Science
April 10 (UPI) -- NASA has delayed the first flight of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter until at least Wednesday. The agency announced the delay in a Saturday news release after a high-speed test of the helicopter's rotors abruptly stopped Friday. Advertisement The drone's watchdog timer expired as it was trying to transition the flight computer from "pre-flight" to "flight" mode, according to NASA. The watchdog timer oversees the command sequences and alerts the system to any potential problems, preventing the system from proceeding when an issue is detected. NASA described the helicopter as "safe and healthy" and said the Ingenuity Mars' team is reviewing telemetry to diagnose and understand the full-speed test. Friday's test was the last major one before the helicopter's first scheduled f...
Perseverance rover takes selfie with Ingenuity helicopter

Perseverance rover takes selfie with Ingenuity helicopter

Technology
NASA's Perseverance rover has taken a selfie on the Martian surface capturing itself and the Ingenuity helicopter ahead of the first attempt at flight on an alien planet.The image released by NASA was stitched together from dozens of individual snaps from the rover's WATSON camera (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering). It follows the mini-helicopter Ingenuity surviving its first night alone on the Martian surface detached from the Perseverance rover, which NASA hailed as a "major milestone". Image: Perseverance landed on Mars earlier this year. Pic: NASA/JPL-Caltech "The laws of physics may say it's near impossible to fly on Mars, but actually flying a heavier-than-air vehicle on the red planet is much harder ...
Mars helicopter Ingenuity performs well before first flight

Mars helicopter Ingenuity performs well before first flight

Science
April 7 (UPI) -- NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity, the first powered aircraft on another planet, is free of the Perseverance rover that carried it and appears to be functioning well ahead of its first flight on Sunday, the space agency said. NASA plans to broadcast the results of that first flight at 3:30 a.m. EDT Monday after the helicopter transmits data and images to Perseverance, which will send them back to Earth. Advertisement The helicopter detached from the rover's underbelly Saturday and survived subzero temperatures with its own heaters, which NASA said was "a major milestone" in an announcement Tuesday. The 4-pound rover uses solar panels to charge its batteries and keep delicate electronics safe from extreme cold that can reach 130 degrees F below zero. "So far, everything ha...
Mars helicopter Ingenuity could usher in new era of exploration

Mars helicopter Ingenuity could usher in new era of exploration

Science
ORLANDO, Fla., March 22 (UPI) -- NASA's plan to fly a helicopter on Mars for the first time in a few weeks could start a new era of interplanetary exploration like the space agency's little Sojourner rover did in the 1990s, according to several experts. The Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, will be dropped from the Perseverance rover soon, but NASA hasn't determined the exact date. The rover ejected a shield that covered the helicopter over the weekend. Advertisement Ingenuity is purely a demonstration like Sojourner was, but it will provide images of the surface around the Perseverance rover. Depending on its success, NASA may be able to use helicopters to explore Mars faster, said Robert Zubrin, founder and president of the non-profit Mars Society, which advocates for Martian exploration. "R...
Apollo 13 splashdown 50 years ago underscored NASA’s ingenuity

Apollo 13 splashdown 50 years ago underscored NASA’s ingenuity

Science
ORLANDO, Fla., April 17 (UPI) -- The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 splashdown on Friday marks the successful end of a heroic effort to save the aborted moon mission from disaster in space. The rescue of three astronauts proved the efficacy of NASA's training and talent to overcome a life-threatening oxygen tank explosion 200,000 miles from Earth and served as an example for future generations of space engineers. "We're about to live the moon missions over again, but we know from the past we can work through problems that we may have," said Mike Cianilli, manager of NASA's Apollo Challenger Columbia Lessons Learned Program. The capsule splashed down at 2:07 p.m. EDT in the South Pacific near Samoa. The crew used the lunar module as a lifeboat during the journey home, and pieces of tha...