NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer - We Are The Mighty
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NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer

NASA announced its target date for the first powered, controlled helicopter flight on Mars as no earlier than April 8, 2021. The 4-pound helicopter, named Ingenuity, is attached to the belly of the Mars Perseverance rover which landed on the Red Planet on February 18, 2021. Perseverance is en route to a designated “airfield” where Ingenuity will attempt the historic flight. Upon successful deployment, Ingenuity will have 30 Martian days (equivalent to 31 Earth days) for its test flight campaign.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
Engineers prep the Ingenuity helicopter for its trip to Mars (NASA)

“When NASA’s Sojourner rover landed on Mars in 1997, it proved that roving the Red Planet was possible and completely redefined our approach to how we explore Mars. Similarly, we want to learn about the potential Ingenuity has for the future of science research,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division. “Aptly named, Ingenuity is a technology demonstration that aims to be the first powered flight on another world and, if successful, could further expand our horizons and broaden the scope of what is possible with Mars exploration.”

Powered, controlled flight on Mars is significantly more difficult than it is on Earth. The Red Planet’s gravitational pull is about one-third of Earth’s and its atmosphere is 1% of what Earth’s is at the surface. Additionally, the surface of the planet receives only half the amount of solar energy that the Earth receives during the day. Conversely, Martian nights can be as cold as -130°F which poses a serious danger to exposed electrical components.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
Ingenuity stowed onboard the Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars (NASA)

Luckily, the engineers at NASA have designed Ingenuity specifically for the Martian skies. The helicopter had to be small and lightweight in order to hitch a ride on Perseverance. Engineers also fitted it with internal heaters to keep it from freezing during the night. To test its capabilities, Ingenuity’s systems were subjected to performance trials in vacuum chambers and test labs in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory which simulated the conditions the helicopter would face on Mars.

“Every step we have taken since this journey began six years ago has been uncharted territory in the history of aircraft,” said Bob Balaram, JPL’s Mars Helicopter chief engineer. “And while getting deployed to the surface will be a big challenge, surviving that first night on Mars alone, without the rover protecting it and keeping it powered, will be an even bigger one.”

When Ingenuity attempts its historic flight on Mars, it will carry another piece of aviation history with it. On December 17, 1903 the first powered, controlled flight took place on Earth. On the dunes of Kill Devil Hill near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville Wright flew 120 feet in 12 seconds at the controls of Wright Flyer. He was joined by his brother, Wilbur. The Wright brothers made a total of four flights that day, each longer than the last.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
Seconds into the first powered, controlled airplane flight in history by the Wright brothers (Public Domain)

A piece of the material that covered the Wright Flyer’s wing is now carried aboard Ingenuity. The small swatch of fabric is wrapped around a cable with insulative tape underneath the helicopter’s solar panel. Another piece of Wright Flyer material was carried by the Apollo 11 crew on their historic flight to the Moon in July 1969. The astronauts also brought a splinter of wood from the Wright Flyer with them.

“Ingenuity is an experimental engineering flight test – we want to see if we can fly at Mars,” said MiMi Aung, project manager for Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. “There are no science instruments onboard and no goals to obtain scientific information. We are confident that all the engineering data we want to obtain both on the surface of Mars and aloft can be done within this 30-sol window.” Stay tuned to NASA’s social media for updates on Ingenuity’s historic flight.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
An illustration of the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter on Mars (NASA)
Intel

How this Air Force medic became a fashion and fitness model

Charissa Littlejohn was an aspiring model before joining the Air Force, but it wasn’t until she left the service that her modeling career really took off. In this spotlight episode, Charissa tells her unconventional transition story of becoming a fashion model after serving as an Air Force medic.


When all of her roommates in Las Vegas in 2009 were sent to Korea through the Air Force, Charissa was inspired to join as well. She was trained as a medic, a field she enjoyed, and was sent to Tokyo, Japan.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer

After four years, she separated and moved back to Florida where her family lived, but on a trip to visit a friend in California, she fell in love with Los Angeles and the Newport Beach area. She also met with some managers at modeling agencies, and her interest in modeling quickly grew.

Modeling became her day job. She did monthly shoots for a local magazine honoring veterans, and wants to remind the people who see her work that veterans are not only defined by their military careers. Once they leave service, they can be whatever they want to be.

She also holds a Masters in Healthcare Administration, further annihilating any stereotypes that might come to mind when you think of the modeling industry.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer

Now, she’s shifted her focus mostly to entrepreneurship; she runs LittleGat, a holster and apparel manufacturer, with her husband, and holds the title of CEO. It just goes to show that Charissa will make anything happen.

NOW: Here’s how a combat wounded veteran got his dream shot at college football

OR: The best and the worst Air Force recruiting slogans of all-time

Intel

This highly-selective Marine Corps unit does a job no one really wants to do

One of the Marine Corps’ most-selective units carries out a job that no one really wants to do.


Comprised of just 15 Marine infantrymen, the Body Bearers Section of Bravo Co., Marine Barracks Washington primarily handles the delicate task of bearing the caskets of fallen Marines, family members, and Marine veterans at Arlington National Cemetery and surrounding cemeteries in Washington, D.C.

“We go out into Arlington and just about every day it’s somebody’s worst day,” said Lance Cpl. Michael Ryder, in a video produced by Marine Barracks Washington.

The official Marine Corps website writes:

The road to becoming a Body Bearer is not an easy. Each member has to demonstrate that he has the bearing and physical strength to carry out this mission. A typical day for a Body Bearer includes several hours of ceremonial drill practice and intensive weight training and conditioning. The remainder of the day includes infantry knowledge and skills proficiency training.

According to the video, Marines who try out for the section and attend ceremonial drill school must be able to complete 10 reps each of 225 pound bench press, 315 pound back squats, 135 pound military press (behind the head), and 115 pound bicep curls.

“It’s one of those jobs where it’s taxing on your emotions,” Ryder said. “But when you get it perfect for the family, everything is worth it.”

Now watch:

NOW: Everyone should see these powerful images of wounded vets

Articles

This man in Georgia restores WWII airplane turrets in his garage

Plane turrets got their combat debut in World War II but were nearly obsolete by the time the war ended as jet planes could fly too fast for most gunners to hit them.


Most turrets were scrapped after the war, but one enthusiast in Georgia is collecting those that survived and restoring them to working conditions.

In his workshop in Georgia, Fred Bieser has thousands of turret parts and, as of 2013 when this video was shot, had restored seven turrets. Most of them are kept in his workshop, but some have gone on display at military museums.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
American ball turret gunner Alan Magee poses in his station. (Photo: U.S. Army Air Force)

In this video from Tested, Bieser takes a video crew through his workshop and shows the guts of turrets and how they worked.

The video includes a lot of cool history on turrets, like how pilots worked with gunners to ensure accuracy and how Britain and America used different technologies for power and control.

Check out the full video below:

Intel

An American has died fighting ISIS in Syria

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer


An American who fought beside Kurdish Peshmerga fighters against ISIS has died.

Kurdish officials said on Wednesday that the man, who has not officially been named by Syria, was “martyred” near Kobani. The co-deputy foreign minister of the Kobani district, Idris Nassan, has also verified the death to NBC news.

Several Kurdish Facebook and Twitter handles have named the volunteer soldier as Keith Thomas Broomfield, and American officials have reportedly contacted Bloomfield’s next of kin.

Cristina Silva of International Business Times has more:

“I didn’t want him to go but I didn’t have a choice in the matter,” said his mother, Donna, in a tearful phone interview with NBC News. She said he traveled to the Middle East four months ago to fight and they had little communication during that time. “I’m waiting for his body to come back,” she added.

Read the whole article at IBT

DON’T MISS: ISIS is using water as a weapon

Intel

Meet The Dutch Biker Gang Fighting Against ISIL

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
Photo: Peachy Weasel/ Flickr


It’s perfectly legal for Dutch citizens to join the fight against ISIL.

Since late last year, members of the “No Surrender” biker gang have joined Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Klaas Otto, the leader of the group, has confirmed that at least three of the gang’s members were in Syria, according to The Daily Mail.

Also Read: These Incredibly Brave Activists Expose The Terror Of Living Under ISIL Control

“Joining a foreign armed force was previously punishable, now it’s no longer forbidden,” public prosecutor spokesman Wim de Bruin told AFP.

However, to be clear, you can’t join a foreign force — i.e. ISIL — against the Netherlands.

The story of Dutch citizens wanting to fight against ISIL seems natural, according to The Daily Beast:

So many lunatics from Europe, including from The Netherlands, have joined the head-choppers of ISIS, and here was a group of badasses on choppers out to kill those bastards. It was promoted on what might be called not-quite-mainstream or, indeed, axe-to-grind media. It cropped up on a Kurdish channel and on a local German channel. Then RT, Russian Television, fell in love with it. So did the British tabloids. And a New York one. And the story just keeps rolling.

Here’s a two-minute BBC interview with the leader of “No Surrender” explaining their involvement in the fight against the terrorist organization:

NOW: The Pentagon Is Developing A Dirt Bike That Barely Makes A Sound

ALSO: Hilarious Video Shows What Marines Stationed In 29 Palms Don’t Say

Intel

Here is the smallest manned tank ever made

The Badger is officially the smallest passenger tank on Earth, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s a one-man, all-terrain vehicle designed to breach buildings and other fortified positions. It’s powerful enough to break down doors yet small enough to fit in a lift.


Make no mistake, this tank is not a novelty. Howe Howe Technologies, the makers of this little beast, have experience making vehicles for the military. Howe Howe specializes in the fabrication and design of armored and military-grade vehicles. The Badger, however, is currently being used by SWAT teams.

Watch:

Intel

A Russian weather girl gave a forecast for bombing runs in Syria

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer


In a story that should have most certainly been Duffel Blog but is actually real-life, a Russian weather forecaster proclaimed the skies over Syria were perfect “flying weather” for Russian jets bombing rebel positions, The Guardian reported.

“Experts say the timing for [the airstrikes] was chosen very well in terms of weather,” Ekaterina Grigorova said in her report for Rossiya 24 on Sunday, according to The Washington Post.

The Russian military has carried out more than 100 sorties in Syria since its aerial campaign began last week. Moscow has claimed it has been bombing militants affiliated with ISIS, but so far strikes have overwhelmingly targeted anti-Assad and Kurdish forces instead.

“In these meteorological conditions, planes can dive below the clouds and conduct effective strikes on ground targets, and only climb higher if there’s active anti-aircraft fire,” Grigorova said in front of a graphic depicting a Sukhoi Su-24 strike aircraft dropping bombs on an enemy tank from the “optimal height for targeting and bombing” of three to five kilometers off the ground, according to the translation from The Guardian.

Here’s the Russian-language report:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmM7YD8cBS8

Check out the full story at the Washington Post

Intel

Hilarious robot fails show why you shouldn’t worry about ‘Terminator’ just yet

Some of the top robots in the world competed last week in a competition that tested their ability to respond to disasters. There were some contenders that succeeded and will be remembered as trailblazers in disaster response. These other robots performed … well, Skynet will need to keep looking before it builds its army.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeFkrwagYfcfeature=youtu.be

NOW: The military department you didn’t know Samsung had

OR: The ‘Terminator’ franchise in under 5 minutes | Hurry Up And Watch

Articles

11 Killer photos of jets in full afterburner

Check out these shots of jets turning pounds and pounds of fuel into speed when the pilots push the throttles into afterburner.


An F/A-18C launches off of Cat 3 with both GE F-404 motors in full burner.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
Interesting to note that Hornet pilots take the cat shot with their right hand gripping the canopy rail and not on the stick. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

An Air Force F-16 launches out of Aviano, Italy at night with it’s single GE F-110 engine in full afterburner.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
(Photo: DVIDS)

An F-22 Raptor makes a high-G pass at an airshow with it’s Pratt and Whitney F-119 engines at full power.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
The F-119 is designed to allow the Raptor to reach supersonic speeds without afterburner. (Photo: Air Force)

And F-15 Eagle launches with both Pratt and Whitney F-100s in full afterburner.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
(Photo: USAF)

An F/A-18C Hornet raises the gear and starts a left hand clearing turn off the cat with vapes streaming off of the wingtips and both GE F-404s at full blower.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

They didn’t call the F-14 the ‘big fighter’ for nothing. Here a Tomcat rages down Cat 1 with it’s Pratt and Whitney TF-30s at Zone 5 (full power).

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
Later Tomcat models used the GE F-110, which was generally considered a more powerful and reliable engine. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

A B-1 ‘Lancer’ (better known as “The Bone” — B+one . . . get it?) turns at sunset with all four GE F-110s (same engine used on models of the F-16 and F-14) in full afterburner.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
The B-1 was designed for Cold War-era missions where pre-stealth conventional wisdom was to come into a target low and fast. (Photo: USAF)

An F-111B zorches over the water with wings swept aft and Pratt and Whitney TF-30 engines at full power.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
While the TF-30 had compressor stall issues with the F-14 it worked well for the F-111. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

Another shot of an F-14A Tomcat on the cat in afterburner.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
Pilots would start cat shots with throttles at the Zone 2 setting and then push them forward to Zone 5 as the jet accelerated toward the carrier’s bow. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

A MiG-25 starts its takeoff roll with both Tumansky R-15B-300s at full power.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
The Foxbat is a scream machine, speed-wise, and has been clocked hauling at over Mach 3.

The F-35B Lightning II isn’t designed for speed as much as forward quarter lethality and survivability; but it’s single Pratt and Whitney F-135 does create a nice burner plume in this gorgeous sunset shot.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
(Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Articles

Here’s Video Of The US Navy Testing A ‘Game-Changing’ New Missile

The US Navy has successfully altered a Raytheon Tomahawk land attack missile (TLAM) to be able to hit a moving target at sea, USNI News reports.


In a Jan. 27 test off of San Niolas Island, California, the Navy launched a TLAM which was guided into a moving maritime target through directions given by a Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet flying overhead. TLAMs are capable of changing their direction mid-course.

Also Read: DARPA Is Building A Drone That Can Tell What Color Shirt You’re Wearing From 17,500 Feet

Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work, the Pentagon’s second-highest-ranked civilian, praised the successful test of the missile during a keynote speech at the WEST 2015 conference. He said the missiles were part of the Pentagon’s “Third Offset Strategy,” an initiative focused on research into new long-range weapons.

“A big part of the Third Offset Strategies is to find new and innovative ways to deploy promising technologies,” Work said. “This is potentially a game changing capability for not a lot of cost. It’s a 1000 mile anti-ship cruise missile.”

TLAMs are already used for land attack missions against static targets. By converting TLAMs into missiles capable of penetrating thickly-armored vessels at sea, the Navy plugs a serious gap in its current weapons capabilities. According to USNI News, TLAMs that have been converted into anti-ship missiles that could be used aboard the Navy’s newer guided-missile destroyers, which cannot currently use the service’s antiquated RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile.

The new converted TLAMs would have a range of almost 1,000 nautical miles, allowing the US to maintain a considerable edge over rival naval powers. One of China’s most threatening new military advancements is its development of its own advanced anti-ship cruise missiles. However, these missiles would only have half the range of a converted TLAM.

If fully adapted, the newest iteration of the TLAM will function as a stop-gap measure until the Navy’s next-generation Long Range Anti-Ship missile is ready for action.

Here is a video of the converted TLAM in action.

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Copyright 2015. Follow BI on Twitter.

Articles

Check out these sweet Royal Marine combat moves

The Royal Marines apparently hold unarmed combat displays to engage with the public on “Poppy Day,” the British Commonwealth version of Memorial Day. And the display the Marines put on is pretty impressive.


This 2015 demonstration was held at the Waterloo station in London and featured four Marines fighting and a few announcing, answering crowd questions, and collecting funds for Remembrance Sunday.

The Marines showed how they could sneak up on armed guards and take them out:

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
It’s like being attacked by an ultra-violent spider monkey. (GIF: YouTube/Ministry of Defence)

They displayed a masterful and nuanced way to kick someone in the chest:

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
This probably didn’t hurt. Especially not when his head landed off the mat and on the tile. (GIF: YouTube/Ministry of Defence)

And, of course, they choked a dude out and then took a selfie with him:

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer
Pics or it didn’t happen. (GIF: YouTube/Ministry of Defence)

See more of the Royal Marines’ awesome moves in the video below:

Intel

Putin’s spies are getting sloppy: ‘America isn’t sending a guy to your house to kill you with a hammer, but the Russians will,’ NATO official says

  • Bulgaria arrested six people allegedly spying for Russia inside NATO. One spy was nicknamed “The Resident.”
  • NATO officials were shocked at their “amateurish” lack of espionage tradecraft.
  • “They should have taken the time and been more careful to isolate each agent so that they didn’t all end up starring in a YouTube video,” a source tells Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

It was one of Russia’s deepest infiltrations of NATO in recent years, and the nickname given to one of the spies was reminiscent of a John Le Carré novel: “The Resident.”

There were clandestine exchanges of cash for secrets in the centre of Sofia, Bulgaria. Officials were seen counting out cash in Bulgarian government offices. And at the center of it all was a dual national Russian-Bulgarian citizen married to a top defense ministry official. 

The Russian spies posing as diplomats in the Russian embassy in Sofia focused their recruiting efforts on the top echelons of the Bulgarian defense establishment, as the newest member of NATO. Their specific target, according to both Bulgarian media reports and officials who spoke to Insider, was a new NATO facility on the Black Sea.

All told, six Bulgarians with close ties to either Russia or defense ministry projects were arrested for espionage.

But in a 20-minute video released by Bulgarian intelligence a few days later, the reality was less like a slick espionage thriller: The Russians had retained a crew of bumblers whose only skill was their proximity to Bulgaria’s secrets.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter carries a piece of the Wright Flyer

A tasking memo written ‘in illiterate Bulgarian’

“They’ve got the wife of a prominent figure in the defense industry — who happens to hold dual Bulgarian-Russian passports — coordinating a bunch of agents herself and she’s on video taking meetings at the embassy and in public with Russian officials,” said a NATO counterintelligence official who works undercover and cannot be named. 

“And who is running this woman — again married to one of the top agents — on the Russian side? The top two Russian diplomats at the embassy in Sofia run her themselves to the point they’re caught on video with her,” said the NATO official. “This isn’t a bunch of dumb thugs from the GRU [Russian military intelligence] either, this is the proper SVD [a premier Russian intelligence service previously known as KGB]  running operations from an embassy in a NATO capital.”

The counterintelligence official was particularly shocked at both the clumsy nature of the operation and the bizarre lack of language skills of those running it, considering the spies involved would have been elite intelligence officials with extensive language training who were working in Bulgarian, a Slavic language with close ties to Russia. (There is a lengthy Twitter thread discussing details of the failed operation here, by the journalist Christo Grozev of Bellingcat.)

“The tasking memo was pretty amateurish but normal I guess, they wanted as much info on anything related to NATO that wasn’t Bulgarian because they don’t care about Bulgaria they clearly only care about foreign NATO officers. But that it’s in illiterate Bulgarian makes me crazy. An American or French officer with terrible Bulgarian — but good Russian — would make sense but the SVD has no excuse,” the official told Insider.

‘That’s a major mistake to leave all the sub-agents exposed in a single trail’

After months of closely watching the two Russian officers meet the handler and his wife, Bulgarian authorities became convinced that they had the entire cell under surveillance because of the single point of contact between the spies: The woman who was married to the top official involved, nicknamed “The Resident” by Bulgarian officials, a play on an old KGB term for a spy.

“It looks like maybe the Russians recruited this single MOD official, who then expanded the network to include others and it was all run through that central point,” said the NATO official of the spycraft involved. 

“That’s a major mistake to leave all the sub-agents exposed in a single trail: In this case [if you] figure out The Resident or his wife then you have caught all the agents, not just one,” said the official. “It can be hard to arrange but this is a valuable agent in a NATO MOD [Ministry of Defence]. They should have taken the time and been more careful to isolate each agent so that they didn’t all end up starring in a YouTube video.”

‘It’s as if they don’t really care’

The NATO official said that Bulgaria’s success in the past at catching Russian agents should have been a warning that the situation posed challenges to spy operations:

  • In 2020, Bulgaria deported four top Russian diplomats for spying.
  • In 2019 it banned a former Russian intelligence official from entering Bulgaria over spying claims.
  • And in 2015 Bulgaria saw the first use of the Novichok nerve agent by Russian spies in an attempt to kill a Bulgarian arms dealer who had run afoul of the Kremlin. Novichok was later used in Salisbury in 2018 on a defected Russian spy and his daughter and in 2020 the same substance was used to poison Russian dissident politician Alexei Navalny.

“They get caught a lot in Bulgaria but like everywhere else it’s as if they don’t really care,” said the NATO official. There has been a string of Russian operations in Europe that were so messy they were quickly detected.

“We end up seeing so many Russian operations because they’re crazy: America isn’t sending a guy to your house to kill you with a hammer, but the Russians will. And if you send a guy to kill someone with a hammer or nerve agents the message you send is that you don’t care if you get caught.”

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

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