The Perseverance Mars rover has so far been a smashing success. The next chapter in the story is the Ingenuity helicopter drone. After a software glitch, now it seems to be on its way to success. It successfully climbed up to hover 10 feet above the ground and then safely landed. In the featured image above, it is looking down at its own shadow.
Mars is f***ing hard! Half the probes sent fail to accomplish their mission. Navigation errors, dust storms, software bugs, mechanical failures, human and manufacturing errors, all take their toll on equipment so far from earth it can take 15 minutes from sending a command to anything happening and another 15 minutes before we can confirm it. I am amazed at the spectacular successes we’ve seen in exploring the Red Planet and not at all surprised when a probe craters, misses the target entirely or simply dies.
So of course, I did my little happy dance when Ingenuity lived up to its name. It is the first aircraft to fly on another world – but it won’t be the last. Next up may be Dragonfly on Titan.