Ingenuity Helicopter Takes First Aerial Color Photos of Mars: 'That's Why We're Here'


Yahoo Entertainment 26 April, 2021 - 02:41pm 8 views

Does Mars have oxygen?

On Mars, 0.13 percent of the atmosphere is oxygen. On Earth, it's 21 percent. "On Mars we don't see anything more than a tiny whiff of oxygen and that's largely from water molecules breaking apart in the atmosphere." ... MashableHow NASA's Perseverance is making oxygen on Mars

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter sent back its first color images from Mars, showing a unique perspective of the planet's barren surface from above the ground.

The photographs were taken as Ingenuity, a 4-lb. helicopter that became the first powered aircraft to fly on another planet earlier this month, took its second flight on Thursday.

According to NASA, this trip was a relatively short one, only lasting 51.9 seconds. But in that time, Ingenuity marked several new milestones, such as a higher maximum altitude, increased flight duration and improved sideways movement.

"So far, the engineering telemetry we have received and analyzed tell us that the flight met expectations and our prior computer modeling has been accurate," Bob Balaram, chief engineer for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said after the flight.

"We have two flights of Mars under our belts, which means that there is still a lot to learn during this month of Ingenuity," he added.

During its second flight, the tiny aircraft reached an altitude of 16 feet (a six-foot improvement over its first flight) and snapped colored pictures of the planet's surface.

"The helicopter came to a stop, hovered in place, and made turns to point its camera in different directions," Håvard Grip, Ingenuity's chief pilot at JPL, said. "Then it headed back to the center of the airfield to land. It sounds simple, but there are many unknowns regarding how to fly a helicopter on Mars."

"That's why we're here – to make these unknowns known," he continued.

The series of photographs show the planet's rocky, reddish-orange surface. Ingenuity's shadow is visible at the bottom of one of the images (top of this page).

But the historic moment was followed up by more feats just a few days later.

On Sunday, NASA took Ingenuity out for its third flight, once again pushing the limits of the machine.

While Ingenuity once again climbed to an elevation of 16 feet, this time NASA took the helicopter flying downrange for 164 feet, which is more than the length of half a football field. It also reached a top speed of 6.6 feet per second, the space agency said.

"Today's flight was what we planned for, and yet it was nothing short of amazing," Dave Lavery of NASA explained in a statement. "With this flight, we are demonstrating critical capabilities that will enable the addition of an aerial dimension to future Mars missions."

A video of Ingenuity's third flight can be seen here.

Sunday's flight pushed the helicopter to its farthest distance yet. Ingenuity has another two flights ahead.

Ingenuity's three color photos, taken while in flight, show the tracks of the Perseverance Mars rover on the surface of the planet.

Carey Mulligan couldn't help but gush about Promising Young Woman director Emerald Fennell on the 2021 Oscars red carpet. Read what the Best Actress nominee had to say here.

For weeks, the world watched with apprehension as Moscow stationed troops, aircraft, and military equipment on Russia’s border with Ukraine and in Crimea, a buildup larger than the one that preceded its 2014 annexation of the peninsula. Then, last week, everyone could breathe a guarded sigh of relief. The more than 100,000 soldiers amassed there had begun their return home, the Russian defense minister said. They had only been placed there for “snap checks,” he claimed. The true extent to which the Russian troops, and the equipment they brought in tow, will return remains to be seen, but provided that they do, and that the immediate crisis has been averted, the episode reveals much about the opportunism at the heart of Vladimir Putin’s outlook, Joe Biden’s management of the threat, and the particular nature of the challenge facing the West in Europe today. Moscow backed down following a concerted diplomatic effort. Although Biden had not spoken with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky earlier in his term, he finally placed a call to the country’s leader, emphasizing America’s continued support “in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression.” This was part of an extensive intragovernmental and transatlantic diplomatic campaign that included calls by U.S. officials to Ukrainian and NATO leaders, a trip by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Brussels, and statements by the German and French governments. Meanwhile, for all the worries about the Ukrainian government’s competence and corruption, Zelensky pulled his weight, making appearances on the frontlines of the conflict that has wrought destruction on Eastern Ukraine since 2014, when Moscow started backing separatist groups there. Donning a helmet and flak jacket, Zelensky led his troops through the trenches, running to avoid sniper fire. The message was clear: Ukraine would fight. That the buildup took place in plain sight also helped matters. The Russians didn’t disguise it, and for weeks, provided Western media alarming headlines and U.S. diplomats ample fodder with which to make their case for deterring what seemed to be a potential attack. The Russian president was likely probing for weakness without a clear strategy in mind, seeking an advantage amidst other challenges to his position in Russia and throughout Europe. Putin’s growing insecurity can’t be overlooked, and it should be exploited. This month, the Czech Republic struck a heavy blow against Moscow’s spy network in Central Europe. Following revelations that Russian agents were responsible for deadly 2014 explosions in the country, Prague ordered the expulsion of 18 Russian spies posted as embassy staffers. Concerningly for the Kremlin, there’s been a ripple effect, as others have heeded the Czech government’s calls to do the same. The Baltic states, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Poland followed suit. Worse for the Kremlin, all eyes are on Alexei Navalny. The dissident’s condition continues to be tenuous; just days from death, he ended a hunger strike. Putin had assiduously avoided even uttering his chief antagonist’s name in public, but in recent months, the U.S. and its European allies imposed new sanctions for his continued detention. The Europeans have been slow to impose more punitive measures but have said, like the Biden administration, that they would unleash a furious response if Navalny were to die in custody. Of course, that would be of little comfort to Russia’s aspiring democrats, whose movement would be struck an enormous blow. The Navalny affair poses a particular danger for Putin, which is all the more reason for the White House to double down on its advocacy for him. Nonetheless, even as Jake Sullivan and other top administration officials promise to punish Putin and his cronies if Navalny is killed, a sanctions wish list provided to the White House by Navalny’s associates — which includes a number of oligarchs — seems to be collecting dust. During short White House remarks on Russia last week, Biden made no mention of the dissident. And for all of Biden’s previous efforts to highlight Navalny’s case and show a united transatlantic front against Russian aggression, his administration has failed to leverage congressionally mandated sanctions to try to kill the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a Russian project with significant German backing, for fear of antagonizing the Merkel government. But these baffling oversights are exceptions to a broadly tough-minded approach. By maintaining a Trump-era policy backing the export of lethal weapons to Kiev, Biden has avoided the pitfalls of feckless Obama administration policies. 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Some Russians who have taken COVID-19 antibody tests and found their antibodies have fallen are having third and fourth shots of the Sputnik V vaccine, but researchers in the country suggest they are unnecessary. Revaccination in effect simulates getting the disease so that the body develops more antibodies to fight it. Researchers have said an immediate rise in antibodies seen by those getting a third or fourth shot suggests they did not need revaccination.

Image Source: Getty / George Pimentel / Dominique Charriau / WireImage Cara Delevingne and Paris Jackson marked the 2021 Oscars with a special kind of party favor: a new tattoo. Before heading off to an afterparty together, Jackson posted a close-up of her new matching ink with Delevingne: a red, fine-line rose.

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The first color photo of Mars taken by an aerial vehicle—the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which hovered 17 feet (or 5.2 meters) above the surface—has been published by NASA. In the image, one can see track marks that the Perseverance Mars rover made on the dusty, rocky terrain. The upper right portion of the image reveals a peek of the horizon. While it’s not the first image to come from the Red Planet, it’s a new perspective—and an exciting one. See the full image at NASA.

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