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NASA’s Mars Ingenuity Helicopter passes flight tests, ready to move forward

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Now that NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has accomplished the goal of achieving powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on the Red Planet, and with data from its most recent flight test, on Sunday, April 25th, 2021 the technology demonstration project has met or surpassed all of its technical objectives.

The Ingenuity team now will push its performance envelope on Mars.

The fourth Ingenuity flight from Wright Brothers Field, the name for the Martian airfield on which the flight took place, is scheduled to take off Thursday, April 29th, at 10:12am CDT (7:12am PDT, 12:30pm local Mars time), with the first data expected back at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California at 1:21pm CDT (10:21am PDT).

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is visible in the upper left corner of this image the agency’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took during its third flight, on April 25, 2021. The helicopter was flying at an altitude of 16 feet (5 meters) and roughly 279 feet (85 meters) from the rover at the time. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is visible in the upper left corner of this image the agency’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took during its third flight, on April 25, 2021. The helicopter was flying at an altitude of 16 feet (5 meters) and roughly 279 feet (85 meters) from the rover at the time. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Ingenuity Mars Helicopter completes Third Flight

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter continues to set records, flying faster and farther on Sunday, April 25th, 2021 than in any tests it went through on Earth. The helicopter took off at 3:31am CDT (1:31am PDT) , or 12:33pm local Mars time, rising 16 feet (5 meters) – the same altitude as its second flight.

Then it zipped downrange 164 feet (50 meters), just over half the length of a football field, reaching a top speed of 6.6 feet per second (2 meters per second).

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter can be seen hovering during its third flight on April 25th, 2021, as seen by the left Navigation Camera aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter can be seen hovering during its third flight on April 25th, 2021, as seen by the left Navigation Camera aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter set to take Flight, Sunday

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is two days away from making humanity’s first attempt at powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet.

If all proceeds as planned, the 4-pound (1.8-kg) rotorcraft is expected to take off from Mars’ Jezero Crater Sunday, April 11th, at 12:30pm local Mars solar time (9:54pm CDT, 7:54pm PDT), hovering 10 feet (3 meters) above the surface for up to 30 seconds.

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter unlocked its blades, allowing them to spin freely, on April 7th, 2021, the 47th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. This image was captured by the Mastcam-Z imager aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover on the following sol, April 8th, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter unlocked its blades, allowing them to spin freely, on April 7th, 2021, the 47th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. This image was captured by the Mastcam-Z imager aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover on the following sol, April 8th, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter makes it through First Night on Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has emerged from its first night on the surface of Mars.

Evening temperatures at Jezero Crater can plunge as low as minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 90 degrees Celsius), which can freeze and crack unprotected electrical components and damage the onboard batteries required for flight.

Surviving that first night after being deployed from where it was attached to the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover on April 3rd is a major milestone for the 4-pound (1.8 kilograms) rotorcraft.

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter can be seen on Mars as viewed by the Perseverance rover’s rear Hazard Camera on April 4th, 2021, the 44th Martian day, or sol of the mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter can be seen on Mars as viewed by the Perseverance rover’s rear Hazard Camera on April 4th, 2021, the 44th Martian day, or sol of the mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA prepares Ingenuity Mars Helicopter for First Flight

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA is targeting no earlier than April 8th, 2021 for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter to make the first attempt at powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet. Before the 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) rotorcraft can attempt its first flight, however, both it and its team must meet a series of daunting milestones.

Ingenuity remains attached to the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover, which touched down on Mars on February 18th. On March 21st, the rover deployed the guitar case-shaped graphite composite debris shield that protected Ingenuity during landing.

NASA's Ingenuity Helicopter on Mars (Illustration). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter on Mars (Illustration). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA says new Study reveals Large Quantity of Water trapped in Mar’s Crust

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Billions of years ago, according to geological evidence, abundant water flowed across Mars and collected into pools, lakes, and deep oceans.

New NASA-funded research shows a substantial quantity of its water – between 30 and 99% – is trapped within minerals in the planet’s crust, challenging the current theory that due to the Red Planet’s low gravity, its water escaped into space.

Early Mars was thought to have enough water to have covered the whole planet in an ocean roughly 100 to 1,500 meters (330 to 4,920 feet) deep – a volume roughly equivalent to half of Earth’s Atlantic Ocean.

This global view of Mars is composed of about 100 Viking Orbiter images. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS)

This global view of Mars is composed of about 100 Viking Orbiter images. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS)

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NASA, Blue Origin work to Bring Lunar Gravity Conditions Closer to Earth

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – At one-sixth that of Earth, the unique gravity of the lunar surface is one of the many variable conditions that technologies bound for the Moon will need to perform well in. NASA will soon have more options for testing those innovations in lunar gravity thanks to a collaboration with Blue Origin to bring new testing capabilities to the company’s New Shepard reusable suborbital rocket system.

Currently, NASA can approximate the Moon’s gravity on parabolic flights and in centrifuges on suborbital vehicles – both invaluable options for maturing promising innovations.

New Shepard (NS-14) lifts off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas. (Blue Origin)

New Shepard (NS-14) lifts off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas. (Blue Origin)

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NASA’s VIPER Lunar Rover looks to launch in 2023

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s new water-hunting mission to the Moon, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, has received agency-level approval to move from formulation into implementation of the final design of the rover. This puts the mission one step closer to launching to the Moon’s South Pole in late 2023.

The decision follows VIPER passing the important preliminary design review milestone in August, in which the mission successfully demonstrated to NASA’s Planetary Science Division and the independent VIPER review team that it can meet all the requirements with an acceptable level of risk within cost and schedule restraints.

NASA's Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER rover set to launch in 2023. (APSU)

NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER rover set to launch in 2023. (APSU)

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NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover’s SuperCam audio files beamed back to Earth

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The first readings from the SuperCam instrument aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover have arrived on Earth. SuperCam was developed jointly by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico and a consortium of French research laboratories under the auspices of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES).

The instrument delivered data to the French Space Agency’s operations center in Toulouse that includes the first audio of laser zaps on another planet.

Combining two images, this mosaic shows a close-up view of the rock target named "Yeehgo" from the SuperCam instrument on NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/CNRS/ASU/MSSS)

Combining two images, this mosaic shows a close-up view of the rock target named “Yeehgo” from the SuperCam instrument on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/CNRS/ASU/MSSS)

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NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter checks in, Operations Normal

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California have received the first status report from the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which landed Feb. 18, 2021, at Jezero Crater attached to the belly of the agency’s NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover.

The downlink, which arrived at 3:30pm PST (5:30pm CST) via a connection through the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, indicates that both the helicopter, which will remain attached to the rover for 30 to 60 days, and its base station (an electrical box on the rover that stores and routes communications between the rotorcraft and Earth) are operating as expected.

In this illustration, NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter stands on the Red Planet's surface as NASA's Perseverance rover (partially visible on the left) rolls away. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In this illustration, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter stands on the Red Planet’s surface as NASA’s Perseverance rover (partially visible on the left) rolls away. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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