Mars 2020 Stories April 12

[Update Below] On April 10th, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory shared in a Status Update that the first flight of Mars Helicopter Ingenuity has been rescheduled to No Earlier Than April 14th. Ingenuity underwent a low-speed spin test of its rotor yesterday, reaching 50rpm. When the helicopter moved to begin the full-speed spin test of its rotors the watchdog timer expired.

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Mars 2020 Stories April 9

We have been following the deployment of Ingenuity since it first landed on Mars, on the belly of Perseverance, back in February. NASA has been working towards the first flight of Ingenuity, which is scheduled to occur late on April 11th.

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Mars 2020 Stories April 8

The Mars Helicopter Ingenuity is an exciting new development in planetary exploration. The ability to have powered, controlled flights on another planet opens up new possibilities for future robotic and, eventually, human missions. Years of work have led up to Ingenuitity’s first flight, no earlier than April 11th, and the teams at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) are currently working through the helicopter’s 10-day long deployment process.

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Mars 2020 Stories March 18

Artist's concept of Ingenuity in flight. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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NASA’s Perseverance Rover landed on February 18th and recently began to move. Mounted on the belly of the rover is Ingenuity, a small, 1.8 KG helicopter. Ingenuity will attempt the first powered and controlled flight on another planet no earlier than the first week of April.

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Mars 2020 Stories February 23

With the recent landing of Perseverance on the 18th and the first-of-its-kind video release on the 22nd, we are getting access to interplanetary imagery rivaled only by the Juno mission and its JunoCam. The website for the Perseverance rover will be the home for all the pictures, videos, and sounds taken by the rover for the public to view.

Image Breakdown

There are 2 picture sections on the site: Images and Raw Images. The Images section will contain all the NASA-created and edited content such as graphics and edited Perseverance pictures. The Raw Images section contains exactly what the name entails, raw images. You will find that most of these pictures are in black and white while some others may be in color but have a strange hue to them. This is to be expected as little to no editing should have been applied.

As of writing this, there are currently 4,796 total images in the Raw Images section. That’s a lot to go through. You may notice that there are some very small pictures along with normal-sized pictures. That is because they also put the thumbnail pictures they get from the rover up on the site too.

Thumbnail pictures are the low-resolution copies that they get from the rover first before getting the much larger normal resolution files downlinked. You can filter out these thumbnail images using the filters in the sidebar if you want to focus on the normal resolution images instead.

With these raw images, you can create your own edits of Perseverance pictures. I use Adobe Photoshop 2021 to create my edits but you can also create edits in GIMP, a free photoshop alternative. You will need to use the black and white frames that are individual color bands (Red, Green, and Blue) to construct a full-color image.

Here are some of the edits I have made using Photoshop, Astronomy Tools Action Set (For constructing the RGB image and contrast enhancement), and Topaz Labs GigaPixel AI (for AI image up-scaling)

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After yesterday’s mind-blowing Entry Descent and Landing (EDL) video reveal and dump of raw images for the public to gloss over, some have been looking closer at the pattern used on the parachute. While most parachutes use special designs, JPL has been know to hide secret messages all around their spacecraft and in less than a day Redditors decoded it.

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Mars 2020 Stories February 22

After 3 days of downloading data from the rover via JPL’s Deep Space Network NASA finally shared with us the videos that documented the entry descent and landing process that took place on Mars last Thursday.

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Mars 2020 Stories February 21

One of the craziest experiments a part of the Mars 2020 mission, Ingenuity the small helicopter attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover, has messaged home to controllers at JPL. It saying that it and its base station are in good health on Friday. This is the first transmissions teams have gotten of the helicopter since it landed on the surface of Mars the day before, an important step in getting the helicopter ready to fly.

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Mars 2020 Stories February 19

NASA shares a sneak peek of upcoming landing footage from Perseverance

With less than a day on its life on Mars Perseverance has already wowed us with its first still image during one of the most difficult and dangerous times of the descent. Like its twin rover Curiosity, cameras captured stop-motion video of the rover being lowered by the Skycrane. Today we get the first glimpse of what it will look like.

Mars 2020 Stories February 18

Almost a decade of development and waiting has finally led to the moment the world has been waiting for. NASA’s Mars 2020 mission was launched onto its journey to Mars back in July of 2020 and teams have monitored its safety all the way there. Now the rover and teams of researchers back on earth get to start looking for signs of life on Mars.

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