Perseverance rover on Mars (was: Mars lander set for Feb 18th landing)

Third flight, 50 meters (I think it is 50 meters and then back for a total of 100) horizontal movement.
Some color pics from Ingenuity as well:

Brian

Ingenuity takes a pic of Percy from the air:

Brian
There will be a press conference Friday at 12:30 p.m. EDT (9:30 a.m. PDT) on next steps.

Brian

Fourth flight rescheduled for today. News conference moved to 11:30 a.m. EDT

Brian

Low air density could mean less effect from gusts. But every airborne vehicle in unaccelerated flight is 100% affected by wind.

Presumably, NASA monitors the wind and will fly Ingenuity only in favorable conditions.

Fourth flight successful – it took lots of pix (which aren’t available yet)

Brian

Yes, that was far and away the most non-factual thing about the book and movie The Martian. Dust storms there are by no means strong (or dramatic) enough to pose a blow-over risk to humans or spacecraft.

I understand Andy Weir knew this at the time of writing it, but needed some kind of near disaster and apparently couldn’t think of another. He’s since regretted using it. Note that at a later time in the book, when Watney was travelling in a solar powered vehicle, he almost drives through a dust storm and the only bad effect of it would be a too severe reduction in the power his solar panels would get.

That was my only dislike about The Martian, he changed the rules of how storms on Mars worked midway through the book. I don’t mind a fanciful Monster Dust StormTM, as long as you’re consistent.

The Martian was set in a slightly different universe in which Mars had enough atmospheric density for those winds to actually be dangerous. At least, that’s my headcanon.

And the mission has been extended:

It’s now an operations demonstrator instead of just a technology demonstrator, and they’ll be using it for actual scouting missions.

Series of shadow pics in this article about the new mission:

Brian

I can’t get my head around how this video was made. If it was taken by a camera on the helicopter (as claimed in the caption which I’ve quoted below) why does the shadow track across the landscape? And what’s the deal with the way the landscape sort of tilts back at the very end of the animation? I suspect these two things are linked but I cannot work it out.

Ingenuity’s Shadow During Third Flight: The shadow of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter can be seen in these images taken by its black-and-white navigation camera during its third flight on April 25, 2021. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Full image and caption ›

Maybe they stabilized the image perspective, or something like that, to show that the shadow is moving across the landscape, rather than showing the shadow steady and the landscape moving.

Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. We’re only seeing a small subset of the full video. They cropped out a small portion corresponding to the landscape we see. It distorts a bit because the perspective is changing and it is on different parts of the lens. I think they must have moved it across nearly the whole frame: at the start of the animation, the bottom edge is blurred–as if it were at the edge of the lens, where the distortions are the worst–and at the end of the animation, it’s the top edge that’s blurred.

From the full caption:
The images are aligned entirely using Ingenuity’s on-board position tracking system highlighting the stability and accuracy of the navigation algorithm.
The GIF has been cropped to fill the frame, and the contrast has been increased so it’s easier to see; the frame rate has also been sped up.

So the pictures are aligned against the terrain.

Brian

Video and Audio (I couldn’t hear anything, will try different audio system later) of 4th flight:

Brian

Cool - thanks!

Ingenuity 5th flight, this time it landed in a different spot than it it took off from:

Brian