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TomS

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Only 5 flights? WTF? Fly it until it doesn't fly anymore. What the hell is wrong with NASA?

The helicopter is a secondary mission -- they've delayed the rover's primary science mission for nearly a month to accommodate the helicopter tests. Time to get on with the main job. And what does flying more than five times actually accomplish? By flight five, they'll have learned pretty much everything Ingenuity has to tell them about flight on Mars.
 

sferrin

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Only 5 flights? WTF? Fly it until it doesn't fly anymore. What the hell is wrong with NASA?

The helicopter is a secondary mission -- they've delayed the rover's primary science mission for nearly a month to accommodate the helicopter tests. Time to get on with the main job. And what does flying more than five times actually accomplish? By flight five, they'll have learned pretty much everything Ingenuity has to tell them about flight on Mars.
Thought it had a camera on it? Seeing the sites. NASA should hire some PR. "Yeah, we have a flyable helicopter on MARS but it's just going to sit there collecting dust because we can't think of anything to do with it." SMDH As for delaying the rover's mission that seems more choice than necessity. No reason they couldn't do both.
 

Flyaway

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Only 5 flights? WTF? Fly it until it doesn't fly anymore. What the hell is wrong with NASA?
Because it’s only an engineering test and using it tied up the rovers valuable time away from its main mission. Ingenuity cannot operate without perseverance.
 

TomS

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Thought it had a camera on it? Seeing the sites. NASA should hire some PR. "Yeah, we have a flyable helicopter on MARS but it's just going to sit there collecting dust because we can't think of anything to do with it." SMDH

It has a fairly low-res camera but no actual scientific instruments of note. I don't think the camera is even particularly color registered like the rover cams are. "Seeing the sites" isn't a science mission. We know what Mars looks like; what we need to learn is the history and presence of water on Mars, which we can only really figure out by doing geological studies. That's what Perseverance is designed for, and it can't do that properly while it's babysitting Ingenuity. On which topic...

As for delaying the rover's mission that seems more choice than necessity. No reason they couldn't do both.

Yes, there is. The rover has to be close to the helicopter, because the helicopter can't talk to Earth or even the Mars orbiters on its own (no weight or energy budget for that). So the rover is the relay, and it has to be within a few hundred meters (and within line-of-sight, I think). Which means it can't drive off to collect new science data at interesting locations. And while the rover is relaying helicopter data, its ability to send its own data is constrained, because bandwidth is not unlimited.
 

_Del_

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They could at least send it up and find a practical ceiling, and then let it hover about snapping pics until it runs the batteries dry. Try to find some windy or even gusty patch of atmosphere and see how well it copes in regards to flight stability and/or station keeping. Etc You'd at least gather some last useful data and make a show of it. But my guess is noone wants to be responsible for a "crash", so it will sit "safely" and uselessly until the wind knocks it over or buries it.
 

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According to the NASA space flight stream of SN15 just now the helo will be used to scout location for Perseverance to go.

OK, so from the last press conference, they are looking to extend the mission past five flights as long as it can tag along with the rover, basically. But it's clearly on a not-to-interfere basis.


With short drives expected for Perseverance in the near term, Ingenuity may execute flights that land near the rover’s current location or its next anticipated parking spot. The helicopter can use these opportunities to perform aerial observations of rover science targets, potential rover routes, and inaccessible features while also capturing stereo images for digital elevation maps. The lessons learned from these efforts will provide significant benefit to future mission planners. These scouting flights are a bonus and not a requirement for Perseverance to complete its science mission.

The cadence of flights during Ingenuity’s operations demonstration phase will slow from once every few days to about once every two or three weeks, and the forays will be scheduled to avoid interfering with Perseverance’s science operations. The team will assess flight operations after 30 sols and will complete flight operations no later than the end of August. That timing will allow the rover team time to wrap up its planned science activities and prepare for solar conjunction – the period in mid-October when Mars and Earth are on opposite sides of the Sun, blocking communications.
 

sferrin

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According to the NASA space flight stream of SN15 just now the helo will be used to scout location for Perseverance to go.

OK, so from the last press conference, they are looking to extend the mission past five flights as long as it can tag along with the rover, basically. But it's clearly on a not-to-interfere basis.


With short drives expected for Perseverance in the near term, Ingenuity may execute flights that land near the rover’s current location or its next anticipated parking spot. The helicopter can use these opportunities to perform aerial observations of rover science targets, potential rover routes, and inaccessible features while also capturing stereo images for digital elevation maps. The lessons learned from these efforts will provide significant benefit to future mission planners. These scouting flights are a bonus and not a requirement for Perseverance to complete its science mission.

The cadence of flights during Ingenuity’s operations demonstration phase will slow from once every few days to about once every two or three weeks, and the forays will be scheduled to avoid interfering with Perseverance’s science operations. The team will assess flight operations after 30 sols and will complete flight operations no later than the end of August. That timing will allow the rover team time to wrap up its planned science activities and prepare for solar conjunction – the period in mid-October when Mars and Earth are on opposite sides of the Sun, blocking communications.
Apparently it's not unpossible after all.
 

TomS

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Apparently it's not unpossible after all.

Nope. But not a case where they are going to "fly until it doesn't fly anymore." They have a hard out in August.

The extension does surprise me because the teams were very vocal that they didn't intend to operate it past five flights. But from what I'm reading, this is basically the rover teams saying "fine, keep flying as long as you don't get in our way." They don't really need Ingenuity to accomplish their mission objectives and keeping it flying past 30 days seems pretty unlikely.
 

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For Perseverance not being constrained by Ingenuity, it will depend on rover track and state of comparative charges b/w the two.
It will be interesting to see if/how-long Ingenuity can keep pace. This could be potentially a great experience for future explorations (when is flying more efficient than driving? At what mass? In which environmental conditions? ).
 

Dilandu

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The best use for "Ingenuity" now seems to be scouting the path for rover, indeed. Even a short hop would allow much better view on the terrain around the rover, which would enable operators to design a path more efficiently. I suppose, it would be mainly used while rover itself is preparing to move, and data exchange is limited.
 

Flyaway

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For Perseverance not being constrained by Ingenuity, it will depend on rover track and state of comparative charges b/w the two.
It will be interesting to see if/how-long Ingenuity can keep pace. This could be potentially a great experience for future explorations (when is flying more efficient than driving? At what mass? In which environmental conditions? ).
Dragonfly to Titan is a perfect example when flying around is better than a rover.
 

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For Perseverance not being constrained by Ingenuity, it will depend on rover track and state of comparative charges b/w the two.
It will be interesting to see if/how-long Ingenuity can keep pace. This could be potentially a great experience for future explorations (when is flying more efficient than driving? At what mass? In which environmental conditions? ).
There's no reason to discuss what is more efficient: flying or driving. These two ways of exploration perfectly complement each other, at least in the case with Percy and Ingenuity. Do you ask how long Ingenuity can keep pace? JPL engineers and NASA decided to extend the lifetime of this drone and the mission itself, so they plan it to last up to August.
 

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Yes yes. That's what I ask. The model based equations that would come from that experience could greatly help future Mars explorations.
Don't forget that flying is a matter of mass that get prominently pushed in the forefront with a thinner atmosphere and a low energy level.

For example, if I have a small payload m to bring from point A to B distant from 1km with a 1000ft elevation, when would it be more efficient to fly than drive at equivalent technological level?

Mars is not tinny. Any Mars exploration would be confronted to the efficient coverage of Mars ground and models like this will greatly help to plan remotely for future operations.
 

Flyaway

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Ingenuity’s fifth flight to a new airfield:

View: https://youtu.be/PFbzEM8PzHE

So what will the purpose of Ingenuity’s flight to a new airfield be? Expanding the reconnaissance of possible future areas of interest for Perseverance to explore? And another thing how far did Ingenuity fly on this flight?
It flew to where it had scouted out to in flight four. This new airfield is facilitate its expanded mission.

Thanks Flyaway.
 

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