Ingenuity, the helicopter that is part of the Perseverance mission to Mars, just underwent some flight test “stuff.” That’s the technical term.

During a high-speed spin test of the rotors on Friday,
the command sequence controlling the test ended early
due to a “watchdog” timer expiration.

There was an “issue.” That’s the political term. A normal human would say that something failed.

The helicopter team is reviewing telemetry
to diagnose and understand the issue.

But wait a minute. How did they know there was a problem? I mean, an issue?

The helicopter is safe and healthy
and communicated its full telemetry set to Earth.

Yes, folks, that’s right: ET phoned home.

And sometime this week — once all the issues are resolved but no earlier than Wednesday, April 14 — NASA will fly a helicopter cum drone on Mars. A helicopter. On Mars.

Check your local TV and internet listings. It’s not quite like people landing on the Moon, but it’s still very cool.


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6 Responses to Ingenuity

  1. Very cool. Hard even to imagine the imagination that thought it was possible.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Judith – 🙂 I know. Think of the first guy in *that* meeting. “What about a drone?” There’s a great book in the stories of these projects. I hope someone writes it.

  2. Sam Feola says:

    The helicopter was partially designed by a company a few miles from me in Simi Valley, CA. As a former military helicopter pilot, I find it all pretty amazing.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Sam – It’s sort of a “six degrees of separation” thing: How close can you get to a technological marvel? I hope someone is working on the “The Soul of a New Machine” equivalent for the Mars project.

      • barbara carlson says:

        I’m going to put in my “six degrees” oar and say I emailed back and forth with the man @ NASA who was “in charge” of all the moon rocks, etc. — from the first 1969 mission onwards.

        He was glad to answer my questions about “pocket moon dust” in the returning astronauts space suits, but insisted the suits do NOT have pockets — they are called pouches. Now you know.

        This was for my book, The Pocket Lint Chronicles, as you know and have read??? 😀

        • Isabel Gibson says:

          Barbara – Pouches not pockets, eh? I’m surprised they don’t have external storage units, with their own acronym.

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