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April 19, 2021


"Why over-hype it?"

Because then it would be the only item in America not overhyped, including cheerios, kleenex, and self-crashing automobiles.

The real miracles need to work overtime to stand out.

But it does give the conspiracy right wing one more thing to over-debunk, over-lie-about, over-Elon Muskovate, over-Foxturbate, and overhate gummint over.

I guess if the Wright Brother's craft had been delivered 3000 MILES from, say, California in a Fedex transport plane to Kitty Hawk for its maiden flight, the similarities between the two might be closer.

I'm still pondering the miracle that the helicopter was delivered from Earth to Mars on time, intact, and ready to fly.

I'm sure, however, there are engineering feats against the odds demonstrated by the copter's liftoff that are notable to the elite, educated, bespectacled experts, now the underclass, in America.

We will of course thoroughly under hype and whitewash the attempted violent overthrow of the U.S. Government by the Trump Republican Party and its deplorable murderers on January 6, 2021.


Vengeance, infinite multiples of it, against the Evil ones will need to be sought without government's help.

Trump and his criminal millions, unlike Osama bin Laden, are utterly untouchable by conventional worthless rule of law.

Allow me to note that there is a difference between "untouchable" and "not yet touched." I'm betting that a lot of them are in the later category.

Given how low the atmospheric pressure is on Mars, I am genuinely surprised that a helicopter works at all there (I have not looked at any picture of the contraption yet). Here on Earth the tops of the highest mountains can't be reached by run-of-the-mill* helicopters (which makes rescue attempts at e.g. Mt.Everest so difficult).

*of course one could design ones but the market is not there, I presume.

Given how low the atmospheric pressure is on Mars, I am genuinely surprised that a helicopter works at all there

Though one third our gravity, as well as 1% of our atmosphere.
And it's of exceptionally light in construction, with contra-rotating rotors spinning at 2400 rpm, compared to the usual 4-500 rpm down here.

The exciting prospect is that we've many years of autonomous drone development, a good deal of which might be transferable to planetary exploration vehicles.

"many years of autonomous drone development, a good deal of which might be transferable to planetary exploration vehicles."

Does this mean Amazon will be able to deliver to Martians? Cool.

"Alexa, please deliver some unsuspecting, tasty, Earthlings. Free shipping!"


I suspect a a book with similar content is on Bezos and Zuckerberg's night stand.

Good choice, lj, since the author wrote one of the first stories to feature a surveillance drone...

what makes this really interesting is as a proof of concept.

now that NASA knows they can do this, they will create more aerial vehicles to look around on Mars (or elsewhere). they can go places rovers can't at closer range than orbiting platforms.


Also, you can watch it happen:

Why NASA hypes this...

Because they aren't a bomber.

"Why should we spend all this money on sending a stupid probe to another planet when we have so many problems right here?"

I've worked for planetary geologists. They are acutely aware of the need to do outreach and try to capture the public's imagination in order to keep the grant institutions funded. So they try to capture a sense of wonder and progress in the public facing press releases and make people imagine what it would be like to fly on Mars.

As I remark from time to time, I feel an a sort of unearned proprietary interest in our unmanned space successes. Dad designed ranging systems for the Deep Space Network, which communicates with all the probes beyond Earth orbit, and though that was decades ago, his legacy is in there now like so many others'. I am proud of everyone's hard, smart work that makes these things possible.

I walked outside this morning to watch the Dragon 9 launch. I've seen (and back when the shuttles would land, heard) lots of NASA activity but this one was especially pretty. With a light haze, the booster's landing thrusters were pulsing bright white circles that must have been extending for miles.

I'm not much of a Musk fan, but SpaceX is killing it and I couldn't be happier for them.

The references to Iain Banks Culture series also makes me happy.

OT, so....

Fascinating podcast from 538.

The argument is made that it isn't actually true that white evangelicals are now Republicans. Rather, Republicans are now saying that they are evangelicals. Regardless of whether they actually ever go to church.

That is, what political party you belong to is what is driving what religion you say you belong to. Not theology, but political ideology.

"Religion don't mean a thing / It's just another way to be right wing." Spoon.

Runs Linux. Most of the vision stuff is OpenCV and Python. (Hmm. Could say the same about my new desktop computer.) The Jet Propulsion Lab and GitHub are working to attach a virtual NASA patch to the profile pages of all 12,000 people who committed code changes to the versions of the open-source software used by Ingenuity.

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