I wondered what I would write about on a Monday morning. More mass shootings? Where we are on Covid vaccinations? The end of the Derrick Chauvin trial? Nope. I’m sitting here hoping I get to write about a little helicopter named “Ingenuity.”
I say that I’m hoping to write about it because it’s 6AM. We won’t know if Ingenuity actually flew until 6:15AM.
Assuming it does, this is soooo cool. Traveling with the latest Mars rover, Perseverance, is Ingenuity. This initial flight is supposed to be quick. Up. Hover a few seconds. Back down. That’s it. But… that’s a lot. The big question… can they generate enough lift to fly on Mars?
Here’s how this is supposed to work. NASA sent commands to Perseverance and Ingenuity on Sunday night. The two then do their thing at 3:30 this morning. Did they? Because of the distance between here and there, it takes a few hours to know for sure.
6:15AM. Nothing yet. NASA says an update at 6:34AM.
I’m of an age where I remember the Apollo moon missions. I remember sitting in front of my television in Paris, Texas, and watching Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon. The world waited for that too.
6:50AM. It appears we have success. NASA confirms it is receiving data from Ingenuity. Wow!
Think about it. Mars is millions of miles away. We can send a rover there with a helicopter attached. Tell that helicopter and rover what to do. They do it. They send the results back. I mean, that’s incredible.
I’m reading the piece about the mission from the New York Times. NASA likens this mission to the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk in 1903. That’s how significant this is.
It really is history. The Mars Ingenuity helicopter just became the first powered craft to fly on another world.
We are seeing a picture now as proof of success. Ingenuity sent a picture of its shadow flying above the surface of Mars. A selfie!
It’s a rainy Monday. The news these days isn’t great. I needed some good news. I found a little here… a long way away.