APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

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APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by APOD Robot » Tue Mar 02, 2021 5:06 am

Image Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars

Explanation: What if you could fly around Mars? NASA may have achieved that capability last month with the landing of Perseverance, a rover which included a small flight-worthy companion called Ingenuity, nicknamed Ginny. Even though Ginny is small -- a toaster-sized helicopter with four long legs and two even-longer (1.2-meter) rotors, she is the first of her kind -- there has never been anything like her before. After being deployed, possibly in April, the car-sized Perseverance ("Percy") will back away to give Ginny ample room to attempt her unprecedented first flight. In the featured artistic illustration, Ginny's long rotors are depicted giving her the lift she needs to fly into the thin Martian atmosphere and explore the area near Perseverance. Although Ingenuity herself will not fly very far, she is a prototype for all future airborne Solar-System robots that may fly far across not only Mars, but Titan.

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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by Ann » Tue Mar 02, 2021 8:49 am

My first thought when I saw today's APOD was, "Wow, they've sent a drone to Mars to take aerial shots of Perseverance and the helicopter when the helicopter is airborne!" :wink:

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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by rstevenson » Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:37 am

Whatever you do, don’t go to Facebook to read the comments there on today’s APOD. I fear for the future of the human race.

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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by XgeoX » Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:51 am

Please stop referring to “ingenuity” as “she”. Ingenuity declared it was non-binary on the robot sex spectrum.

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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by neufer » Tue Mar 02, 2021 1:44 pm

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
XgeoX wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:51 am

Please stop referring to “ingenuity” as “she”. Ingenuity declared it was non-binary on the robot sex spectrum.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginny#Other wrote:
<<Ginny or Ginnie is a feminine given name or nickname, frequently of Virginia. It may refer to: Ingenuity, a Martian helicopter nicknamed Ginny.>>
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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by orin stepanek » Tue Mar 02, 2021 1:59 pm

Helicopter_Mars2020_1080.jpg

I hope future APOD's have more on this!
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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by E Fish » Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:18 pm

I'm excited to see the chopper fly...or at least to see pictures the chopper takes when it flies. :)

Hopefully, it turns out better than the Interplanetary Cessna. (Source: https://what-if.xkcd.com/30/)

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Post by neufer » Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:28 pm

XgeoX wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:51 am

Please stop referring to “ingenuity” as “she”.
  • Ingenuity declared it was non-binary on the robot sex spectrum.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginny#Other wrote:
<<Ginny or Ginnie is a feminine given name or nickname, frequently of Virginia.
  • It may refer to: Ingenuity, a Martian helicopter nicknamed "Ginny".>>
https://harrypotterbooks.fandom.com/wiki/Ginevra_Weasley wrote:
<<Ginevra "Ginny" Weasley (b. 11 August 1981) was an English pure-blood witch and the youngest child and only daughter of Arthur and Molly Weasley. Ginny was a powerful witch, fierce and loyal.

In September 1991, Ginny and Molly dropped Percy, Fred, George and Ron at King's Cross to attend a new year at Hogwarts School. Ginny wanted to go too, but Molly told her she couldn't start attending Hogwarts until next year. Ginny watched them run through the barrier and saw Harry Potter ask her mother for help in finding the train.

When Ginny later found out the child was Harry Potter, she wanted to try and find him but Molly told her not to. Fred and George then told Ginny they would send her lots of owls, and when the train was leaving, she followed the train waving until she couldn't any longer, laughing and crying.

At the end of their school year at Hogwarts, Ginny helped pick her brothers up at King's Cross again. Ginny pointed at Harry when she saw him, but Mrs Weasley told her it was rude to point. That summer holiday, Ginny spoke about Harry a lot. Harry went to stay at The Burrow a few weeks later and when Ginny saw him in the kitchen, she freaked out and run away.

During a shopping trip to Diagon Alley, Mrs Weasley and Ginny spent an hour getting robes and then went to Flourish and Blotts where Gilderoy Lockhart was holding a book signing. Ginny stayed at the back next to her new cauldron. Harry was given free copies of Lockhart's books, but he gave them to Ginny instead. Draco showed up to wind Harry up and when Ginny defended him, Draco laughed at the thought that Harry had a girlfriend.

Arthur intervened and he and Draco's father, Lucius had an argument. Lucius had a plan to get Arthur's proposed Muggle Protection Act scrapped. Lucius took a book our of Ginny's cauldron to joke about it being second-hand and caused a fight. When it was over, Lucius snuck Tom Riddle's Diary into her cauldron when he put her second-hand book back. He hoped it would possess Ginny into opening the Chamber of Secrets, and cause a scandal for Arthur so he would look incompetent for creating laws.>>
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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by De58te » Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:54 pm

Regarding who took the picture? I can understand if the artist was some science fiction artist drawing some fantastic sci fi vision. It's called artistic license and Hollywood movies do it all the time. Then I was surprised to read that the illustration is credited to NASA/JPL themselves. Shouldn't they know better? The viewpoint from the Percy camera would be looking up in the sky during the real event. The viewpoint from the helicopter no doubt will be of Percy on the ground and I don't think both of them will be captured in the same picture. The other possibility left is an orbiting satellite taking the picture, but it wouldn't look like that. It would look like the ground as backdrop like the picture released of the landing site with the parachute and heat shield. So what was NASA thinking? We won't see a picture like that for many missions to come in the future.

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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by johnnydeep » Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:10 pm

De58te wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:54 pm
Regarding who took the picture? I can understand if the artist was some science fiction artist drawing some fantastic sci fi vision. It's called artistic license and Hollywood movies do it all the time. Then I was surprised to read that the illustration is credited to NASA/JPL themselves. Shouldn't they know better? The viewpoint from the Percy camera would be looking up in the sky during the real event. The viewpoint from the helicopter no doubt will be of Percy on the ground and I don't think both of them will be captured in the same picture. The other possibility left is an orbiting satellite taking the picture, but it wouldn't look like that. It would look like the ground as backdrop like the picture released of the landing site with the parachute and heat shield. So what was NASA thinking? We won't see a picture like that for many missions to come in the future.
I think you're being unjustifiably critical. Surely even NASA/JPL, scientist-engineers extraordinaire though they may be, are allowed to have an imagination. This is what the scene might look like in the mind's eye of a person hovering nearby watching things unfold. I see no harm in that. As for when we might get such an actual camera shot, all we need is for Ginny to survive until the next rover with a helicopter lands and to hop-fly over and investigate.
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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:14 pm

De58te wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:54 pm
Regarding who took the picture? I can understand if the artist was some science fiction artist drawing some fantastic sci fi vision. It's called artistic license and Hollywood movies do it all the time. Then I was surprised to read that the illustration is credited to NASA/JPL themselves. Shouldn't they know better? The viewpoint from the Percy camera would be looking up in the sky during the real event. The viewpoint from the helicopter no doubt will be of Percy on the ground and I don't think both of them will be captured in the same picture. The other possibility left is an orbiting satellite taking the picture, but it wouldn't look like that. It would look like the ground as backdrop like the picture released of the landing site with the parachute and heat shield. So what was NASA thinking? We won't see a picture like that for many missions to come in the future.
There is no artistic license here. Unlike many of the "artist renderings" that show up in astronomy, this one accurately captures the scene as it appears. There's no suggestion that an actual image of this could be made. What's wrong with that? We depend upon accurate renderings like this all the time. Most of the flight maneuvers and the landing sequence, for instance, were not directly observable. Fortunately, high quality renderings are possible so we can see what is going on and better understand the mission.
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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by johnnydeep » Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:30 pm

rstevenson wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:37 am
Whatever you do, don’t go to Facebook to read the comments there on today’s APOD. I fear for the future of the human race.

Rob
You piqued my curiosity (or perseverance!), so I went there (https://www.facebook.com/AstronomyPictureOfTheDay). It's really not so bad - I've seen much worse. And to be fair to the human race, the scientific literacy of the vast majority of Facebook posters is far below Starship Asterisk* posters, and fully half of THEM are likely to be trollers looking to get a rise out of the "eggheads". They often succeed :ssmile:

Plus, given the realism of the artistic interpretation, the technological miracles NASA/JPL has a public reputation of pulling off, the fact that many might not know that Percy hosts only one 'copter, and that the description didn't lead with a glaring statement about this being an artist's interpretation of a scene that is impossible to get given the hardware currently on mars, I can forgive honest misunderstandings. But, I have been known to sometimes be too kind. :wink:
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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by rstevenson » Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:59 pm

johnnydeep wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:30 pm

You piqued my curiosity (or perseverance!), so I went there (https://www.facebook.com/AstronomyPictureOfTheDay). It's really not so bad - I've seen much worse.
I’ve seen much worse — MUCH worse — elsewhere on FB, but it always distresses me when this sort of egregious nastiness breaks out on APOD on FB. (I’m planning to have a coffee and donut soon. That’ll make feel much better.)

Rob

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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by orin stepanek » Tue Mar 02, 2021 6:51 pm

rstevenson wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:59 pm
johnnydeep wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:30 pm

You piqued my curiosity (or perseverance!), so I went there (https://www.facebook.com/AstronomyPictureOfTheDay). It's really not so bad - I've seen much worse.
I’ve seen much worse — MUCH worse — elsewhere on FB, but it always distresses me when this sort of egregious nastiness breaks out on APOD on FB. (I’m planning to have a coffee and donut soon. That’ll make feel much better.)

Rob
Go for it Rob; I'm all for the donut & coffee thing! Now I'm hungry!! :b: or beer!
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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by VictorBorun » Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:14 pm

What place is better for aeronautics, Earth or Mars?

1) To charge solar cells, Earth's sun is hotter on a nice day and dimmer in cloudy weather.
2) To shield against a storm, an Earthern hangar must be as solid as a Martian one.
3) To avoid birds, you have to take care on Earth only.
4) To fly, the Earth's air is more dense, and so rotor blades' velocity can be lower.

All in all I think Earth is somewhat easier to navigate.

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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by johnnydeep » Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:57 pm

VictorBorun wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:14 pm
What place is better for aeronautics, Earth or Mars?

1) To charge solar cells, Earth's sun is hotter on a nice day and dimmer in cloudy weather.
2) To shield against a storm, an Earthern hangar must be as solid as a Martian one.
3) To avoid birds, you have to take care on Earth only.
4) To fly, the Earth's air is more dense, and so rotor blades' velocity can be lower.

All in all I think Earth is somewhat easier to navigate.
For sure. I seem to remember talk of a martian balloon project some years back - maybe sponsored by The Planetary Society? It seems to me a balloon would make a lot more sense than a helicopter and provide more bang for the buck. The material that the Perseverance landing chute was made of strikes me as a great almost indestructible material to make a balloon out of!
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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by orin stepanek » Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:50 pm

I'm not sure a balloon would have much buoyancy on Mars!?? :shock:
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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by johnnydeep » Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:33 pm

orin stepanek wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:50 pm
I'm not sure a balloon would have much buoyancy on Mars!?? :shock:
Hmm. Yeah, it might not be as easy as I had thought. JPL has a few ideas though: https://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/adv_tech/ball ... erview.htm
Balloon Development Challenges for Mars

Ballooning in the Martian atmosphere is complicated by the fact that the Martian carbon dioxide atmosphere is very cold (200 K or -73 degrees C), and it is very thin at 0.006 bar, where 1 bar = 1 atmospheric surface pressure on Earth. In order to fly balloons at Mars, the balloons must be made of very lightweight material.

However, a number of balloon robots, or aerobots, have been proposed for Mars. One simple type is a helium balloon that carries a rope-like snake. During the day, the balloon would be heated by the sun and rise to some altitude above the Martian surface. At night, the balloon would cool, and land on the Martian surface when the landed snake reduces part of the effective mass of the balloon system. Although this type of balloon was proposed in the 1990's, it has never flown due to problems incurred during atmospheric inflation testing and due to fears that the snake might entangle, thus endangering the balloon.

Another type of balloon is a helium superpressure balloon that would fly at a nearly constant altitude for both day and night. The balloon's internal pressure would be higher during the day than at night, although the balloon volume would remain the same. This type of balloon has great potential for long duration flights, possibly several weeks, but a strong, lightweight, leak-proof material must first be developed and successfully tested in a system where the balloon inflates while falling through the Martian atmosphere.

A third type of Martian balloon is known as a solar Montgolfiere, or a solar-heated hot air balloon. This simple, lightweight balloon system shows great promise for long-duration balloon flights over Mar's polar regions during summer, as well as for soft-landing payloads on the Martian surface.
More googling reveals the "snake tail balloon" concept that was the mars balloon project I was remembering from The Planetary Society. See https://www.planetary.org/planetary-report/tpr-1991-1. You can download that entire issue of The Planetary Report magazine to read the - 30 year old! - article, but here's the cover:

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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by orin stepanek » Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:42 pm

johnnydeep wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:33 pm
orin stepanek wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:50 pm
I'm not sure a balloon would have much buoyancy on Mars!?? :shock:
Hmm. Yeah, it might not be as easy as I had thought. JPL has a few ideas though: https://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/adv_tech/ball ... erview.htm
Balloon Development Challenges for Mars

Ballooning in the Martian atmosphere is complicated by the fact that the Martian carbon dioxide atmosphere is very cold (200 K or -73 degrees C), and it is very thin at 0.006 bar, where 1 bar = 1 atmospheric surface pressure on Earth. In order to fly balloons at Mars, the balloons must be made of very lightweight material.

However, a number of balloon robots, or aerobots, have been proposed for Mars. One simple type is a helium balloon that carries a rope-like snake. During the day, the balloon would be heated by the sun and rise to some altitude above the Martian surface. At night, the balloon would cool, and land on the Martian surface when the landed snake reduces part of the effective mass of the balloon system. Although this type of balloon was proposed in the 1990's, it has never flown due to problems incurred during atmospheric inflation testing and due to fears that the snake might entangle, thus endangering the balloon.

Another type of balloon is a helium superpressure balloon that would fly at a nearly constant altitude for both day and night. The balloon's internal pressure would be higher during the day than at night, although the balloon volume would remain the same. This type of balloon has great potential for long duration flights, possibly several weeks, but a strong, lightweight, leak-proof material must first be developed and successfully tested in a system where the balloon inflates while falling through the Martian atmosphere.

A third type of Martian balloon is known as a solar Montgolfiere, or a solar-heated hot air balloon. This simple, lightweight balloon system shows great promise for long-duration balloon flights over Mar's polar regions during summer, as well as for soft-landing payloads on the Martian surface.
More googling reveals the "snake balloon" concept that was the mars balloon project I was remembering from The Planetary Society. See https://www.planetary.org/planetary-report/tpr-1991-1. You can download that entire issue of The Planetary Report magazine to read the article.
What can I say except wow! I'm still skeptical, but if it works, that's great! So why haven't they used it, or maybe they will?
Thanks for the input!
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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by neufer » Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:50 pm

johnnydeep wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:33 pm
orin stepanek wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:50 pm

I'm not sure a balloon would have much buoyancy on Mars!?? :shock:
Hmm. Yeah, it might not be as easy as I had thought.

JPL has a few ideas though: https://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/adv_tech/ball ... erview.htm
The major problem with planetary non-hot air ballooning is with the light hydrogen atmospheres of the gas & ice giants not the heavy CO2 atmospheres of Venus & Mars. E.g., the average surface air pressure on Mars (~610 pascals) is still comparable to the air pressure at an altitude of ~34.5 kilometres above Earth. The Earthly altitude record for an unmanned balloon is 53.0 kilometres (~18.5 km higher), reached with a balloon volume of 60,000 cubic metres. Hence, such a balloon could probably travel anywhere on Mars except for the top Olympus Mons at ~21.3 km.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vega_1 wrote:
<<The Vega 1 Lander/Balloon capsule entered the Venus atmosphere (125 km altitude) at 2:06:10 UT (Earth received time; Moscow time 5:06:10 a.m.) on 11 June 1985 at roughly 11 km/s. At approximately 2:06:25 UT the parachute attached to the landing craft cap opened at an altitude of 64 km. The cap and parachute were released 15 seconds later at 63 km altitude. The balloon package was pulled out of its compartment by parachute 40 seconds later at 61 km altitude, at 8.1 degrees N, 176.9 degrees east. A second parachute opened at an altitude of 55 km, 200 seconds after entry, extracting the furled balloon. The balloon was inflated 100 seconds later at 54 km and the parachute and inflation system were jettisoned. The ballast was jettisoned when the balloon reached roughly 50 km and the balloon floated back to a stable height between 53 and 54 km some 15 to 25 minutes after entry.

The mean stable height was 53.6 km, with a pressure of 535 mbar and a temperature of 300–310 K in the middle, most active layer of the Venus three-tiered cloud system. The balloon drifted westward in the zonal wind flow with an average speed of about 69 m/s (248 km/hr) at nearly constant latitude. The probe crossed the terminator from night to day at 12:20 UT on 12 June after traversing 8500 km. The probe continued to operate in the daytime until the final transmission was received at 00:38 UT on 13 June from 8.1 N, 68.8 E after a total traverse distance of 11,600 km or about 30% of the circumference of the planet. It is not known how much farther the balloon traveled after the final communication.>>
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by johnnydeep » Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:02 am

neufer wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:50 pm
johnnydeep wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:33 pm
orin stepanek wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:50 pm

I'm not sure a balloon would have much buoyancy on Mars!?? :shock:
Hmm. Yeah, it might not be as easy as I had thought.

JPL has a few ideas though: https://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/adv_tech/ball ... erview.htm
The major problem with planetary non-hot air ballooning is with the light hydrogen atmospheres of the gas & ice giants not the heavy CO2 atmospheres of Venus & Mars. E.g., the average surface air pressure on Mars (~610 pascals) is still comparable to the air pressure at an altitude of ~34.5 kilometres above Earth. The Earthly altitude record for an unmanned balloon is 53.0 kilometres (~18.5 km higher), reached with a balloon volume of 60,000 cubic metres. Hence, such a balloon could probably travel anywhere on Mars except for the top Olympus Mons at ~21.3 km.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vega_1 wrote:
<<The Vega 1 Lander/Balloon capsule entered the Venus atmosphere (125 km altitude) at 2:06:10 UT (Earth received time; Moscow time 5:06:10 a.m.) on 11 June 1985 at roughly 11 km/s. At approximately 2:06:25 UT the parachute attached to the landing craft cap opened at an altitude of 64 km. The cap and parachute were released 15 seconds later at 63 km altitude. The balloon package was pulled out of its compartment by parachute 40 seconds later at 61 km altitude, at 8.1 degrees N, 176.9 degrees east. A second parachute opened at an altitude of 55 km, 200 seconds after entry, extracting the furled balloon. The balloon was inflated 100 seconds later at 54 km and the parachute and inflation system were jettisoned. The ballast was jettisoned when the balloon reached roughly 50 km and the balloon floated back to a stable height between 53 and 54 km some 15 to 25 minutes after entry.

The mean stable height was 53.6 km, with a pressure of 535 mbar and a temperature of 300–310 K in the middle, most active layer of the Venus three-tiered cloud system. The balloon drifted westward in the zonal wind flow with an average speed of about 69 m/s (248 km/hr) at nearly constant latitude. The probe crossed the terminator from night to day at 12:20 UT on 12 June after traversing 8500 km. The probe continued to operate in the daytime until the final transmission was received at 00:38 UT on 13 June from 8.1 N, 68.8 E after a total traverse distance of 11,600 km or about 30% of the circumference of the planet. It is not known how much farther the balloon traveled after the final communication.>>
Thanks, neufer, that is indeed very interesting and relevant info! Actual numbers beat conjecture every time.
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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:06 am

VictorBorun wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:14 pm
What place is better for aeronautics, Earth or Mars?

1) To charge solar cells, Earth's sun is hotter on a nice day and dimmer in cloudy weather.
2) To shield against a storm, an Earthern hangar must be as solid as a Martian one.
3) To avoid birds, you have to take care on Earth only.
4) To fly, the Earth's air is more dense, and so rotor blades' velocity can be lower.

All in all I think Earth is somewhat easier to navigate.
A hanger on Mars could be a flimsy tent. Storms create extremely little force.
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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:10 am

johnnydeep wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:57 pm
VictorBorun wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:14 pm
What place is better for aeronautics, Earth or Mars?

1) To charge solar cells, Earth's sun is hotter on a nice day and dimmer in cloudy weather.
2) To shield against a storm, an Earthern hangar must be as solid as a Martian one.
3) To avoid birds, you have to take care on Earth only.
4) To fly, the Earth's air is more dense, and so rotor blades' velocity can be lower.

All in all I think Earth is somewhat easier to navigate.
For sure. I seem to remember talk of a martian balloon project some years back - maybe sponsored by The Planetary Society? It seems to me a balloon would make a lot more sense than a helicopter and provide more bang for the buck. The material that the Perseverance landing chute was made of strikes me as a great almost indestructible material to make a balloon out of!
A balloon and a drone serve different purposes. The former is substantially a survey probe, with limited control over where it goes. The latter is a precision sampler, which can be directed anyplace. Indeed, it's easy to imagine a hybrid system, where a balloon carries a drone, and drops it for close inspections or sample testing when something interesting is spotted, then carries it on to the next interesting place. A mission like that could operate for a few years.
Chris

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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by johnnydeep » Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:18 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:10 am
johnnydeep wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:57 pm
VictorBorun wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:14 pm
What place is better for aeronautics, Earth or Mars?

1) To charge solar cells, Earth's sun is hotter on a nice day and dimmer in cloudy weather.
2) To shield against a storm, an Earthern hangar must be as solid as a Martian one.
3) To avoid birds, you have to take care on Earth only.
4) To fly, the Earth's air is more dense, and so rotor blades' velocity can be lower.

All in all I think Earth is somewhat easier to navigate.
For sure. I seem to remember talk of a martian balloon project some years back - maybe sponsored by The Planetary Society? It seems to me a balloon would make a lot more sense than a helicopter and provide more bang for the buck. The material that the Perseverance landing chute was made of strikes me as a great almost indestructible material to make a balloon out of!
A balloon and a drone serve different purposes. The former is substantially a survey probe, with limited control over where it goes. The latter is a precision sampler, which can be directed anyplace. Indeed, it's easy to imagine a hybrid system, where a balloon carries a drone, and drops it for close inspections or sample testing when something interesting is spotted, then carries it on to the next interesting place. A mission like that could operate for a few years.
That would be pretty cool. But I could see dropping off and picking up the drone repeatedly being a pretty complicated process.
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Re: APOD: Ingenuity: A Mini-Helicopter Now on Mars (2021 Mar 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:23 am

johnnydeep wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:18 am
Chris Peterson wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:10 am
johnnydeep wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:57 pm


For sure. I seem to remember talk of a martian balloon project some years back - maybe sponsored by The Planetary Society? It seems to me a balloon would make a lot more sense than a helicopter and provide more bang for the buck. The material that the Perseverance landing chute was made of strikes me as a great almost indestructible material to make a balloon out of!
A balloon and a drone serve different purposes. The former is substantially a survey probe, with limited control over where it goes. The latter is a precision sampler, which can be directed anyplace. Indeed, it's easy to imagine a hybrid system, where a balloon carries a drone, and drops it for close inspections or sample testing when something interesting is spotted, then carries it on to the next interesting place. A mission like that could operate for a few years.
That would be pretty cool. But I could see dropping off and picking up the drone repeatedly being a pretty complicated process.
You've seen the system used to put Perseverance on Mars? I think NASA and JPL and the others can do complicated!
Chris

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