NASA spent $58 million on its Mars drone. Now it went haywire.
On 2021-05-30 00:08, RichA wrote:
I'm wondering what DJI would have charged to build NASA an equivalent drone?
Actually it was very well designed with a wide stability margin.
Another design decision also played a role in helping Ingenuity land
safely. As I’ve written about before, we stop using navigation camera
images during the final phase of the descent to landing to ensure smooth
and continuous estimates of the helicopter motion during this critical
phase. That design decision also paid off during Flight Six: Ingenuity
ignored the camera images in the final moments of flight, stopped
oscillating, leveled its attitude, and touched down at the speed as
Looking at the bigger picture, Flight Six ended with Ingenuity safely on
the ground because a number of subsystems – the rotor system, the
actuators, and the power system – responded to increased demands to keep
the helicopter flying. In a very real sense, Ingenuity muscled through
the situation, and while the flight uncovered a timing vulnerability
that will now have to be addressed, it also confirmed the robustness of
the system in multiple ways.
While we did not intentionally plan such a stressful flight, NASA now
has flight data probing the outer reaches of the helicopter’s
performance envelope. That data will be carefully analyzed in the time
ahead, expanding our reservoir of knowledge about flying helicopters on
Further, Ingenuity was designed to research how hard it is to fly on
Mars. What they've learned so far will inform future designs and make
Not sure if DJI would be interested, though the publicity for success
would be useful. DJI drones are highly reliant on GPS for navigation.
There is no GPS constellation around the moon.
It's also a Chinese company and the US and China are not very space
cooperative (The USA never wanted China to be part of the ISS, for example).
 There are proposals for such as well as a proposal to use the
'leakage' from earth GPS/Galileo/GLONASS signals for nav on Mars. It
would only cover part of the planet at a time (obviously) and would
probably not be available during opposition for some time (days).
Accuracy would be on the order of 100m.
 by leakage, that part of the signal that misses the earth and
radiates towards Mars.
"...there are many humorous things in this world; among them the white
man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages."
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