My mum. But luckily she doesn't have the lasers.
NASA’s Perseverance rover trekked across Mars for the first time last Thursday, March 4, 2021. The vehicle went four whole meters forward, turned 150 degrees to the left, then moved another two-and-a-half meters. The entire drive covered a whopping 6.5 m (21.3 feet) across Martian terrain. The journey took about 33 minutes. …
I too had not heard of Octavia Butler as a Sci-Fi author, despite reading almost exclusively sci-fi after I grew out of 'Biggles' books. Fortunately in Lockdown I have lots of time to read.
I may even listen to some Florence Price* music while reading Butler.
As for "I hope Perseverance can use its lasers in a defensive capacity", I doubt they would trouble the martian Ice Warriors, so best hope they consider Perseverance to be a peace offering.
*Florence Price was a superb black female composer whose work is only now receiving the recognition she deserves. Her piano concerto is excellent.
Despite reading a fair amount of classic Sci-Fi written by people of unsound opinions to modern sensibilities, I too have not read any of Octavia Butler's work. Which is a shame. The first thing that comes to mind, much like John Brown (no body), is the 'Butlerian Jihad' from Frank Herbert's oeuvre:
"Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind," the creation of even the simplest thinking machines is outlawed and made taboo
There's a few people who feel that way about AIs in general.
Of course, give the sandiness of Mars, the pattern matching mechanism in my mind could well have been weighting anything to do with Arrakis for the Butlerian idea to float to the top of the maelstrom of my thoughts. Hmm. Weight. Float. My mind is not being logical.
What makes this even more stupid than it first seems is that, even to a completely untrained observer like me, even in this image which I am almost sure doesn't come from one of the science cameras, there is something very interesting there indeed. In the middle distance are two areas of paler ground (the left hand one is only partly visible). Those are the areas where the plumes from the skycrane blew a lot of dust & surface crud away: looking at them will reveal underlying things, and knowing what shape they are, how large, and how much stuff has been blown off them is definitely going to be interesting.
> there is something very interesting there indeed. In the middle distance are two areas of paler ground (the left hand one is only partly visible). Those are the areas where the plumes from the skycrane blew a lot of dust & surface crud away: looking at them will ...
NASA needs to be very careful as to where they go next. Think about it: two pale circular patches with some tyre tracks leading away from the centre. If they double-back to look at those patches they could easily end up drawing a cock and balls. :-)
Those are the areas where the plumes from the skycrane blew a lot of dust & surface crud away: looking at them will reveal underlying things, and knowing what shape they are, how large, and how much stuff has been blown off them is definitely going to be interesting.
Yup. Especially after the challenges previous probe had in trying to get the hammer down. So if at some point we're going to live* on Mars, we're probably going to need to dig holes to keep cosmic rays** out. And if that means having to dig trenches in hard packed or solid rock, we're gonna need a bigger space backhoe. Or a sufficient quantity of high explosives***.
*This is also why Amazon, Ikea etc are trying to condition humanity into living in micro-homes so we'll accept space constraints as future voluntary or involuntary colonists. Rumors that Musk has a 'black' biotech division developing pygmy humans for volume, mass and resource efficiency are deniable.
**Cosmic Rays are relatives of Leisure Suit Larrys, neither of which you'd probably want in your fab hab.
***These may prove useful to mine landing pads for when the inevitable 'Martian Makeover' reality TV crews are due to arrive. I doubt our decendents will be able to escape home improvement shows.
"No-one would have believed, in the last years of the Brobnith Century, that Martian affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space. No-one would have believe that, across the gulfs of space, minds immeasurably inferior to ours would be trying to find the life that mimes and mimsies beneath the red dust of out homeworld.
Then those daft buggers on the third planet started chucking their robot probes at us, and started making rude drawings in the sand.
Having been there at the wrong time of day a few times, I can totally understand...
(Don't know whether the 405 or the 10 is worse)
Was thinking, though, given the 200 meter range of the rover, are they using too low of a power level for the comms? Maybe should use xx Watt or better transmitters instead of BTLE equivalent (an extreme comparison)?
/me points out that packet bursts don't need that much power to transmit, because of the short duty cycle involved - but a STRONG receiver for weak signals MIGHT use more current than higher watt burst transmitters as they must run continuously. And more current for less noise in the front end.
Also used to work for a company that made electronically steerable wifi antennas. NASA probably invented stuff like that back in the day for AEGIS cruisers in the 80's [phased arrays etc.]. So with directional antennas and steering/scanning you could easily increase the antenna gain by 10db or more, especially in a relatively flat area without vertical things in the way. 200m is like the range you'd get with a standard wifi in a clear field with no other transmitters and an omni antenna. Then again maybe it's got that kind of steering antenna tech already [something better than wifi diversity]. Worth pointing out, MIMO doesn't work well in a clear field - it needs multipath which means reflections actually help. Ah, hell, maybe I could recommend some RF and antenna engineers [not me I did the software] to assist with the next rover, especially a flying one, to extend its range.
Because there's really NO reason, other than communication loss, to limit how far it can roam.
"Was thinking, though, given the 200 meter range of the rover, are they using too low of a power level for the comms?"
The 200m refers to the distance it will drive in one go before having a look around so we can decide where to send it next, it has nothing to do with communication range. The rover has three different antennae, two of which can communicate directly with earth (the other one is used for communicating with satellites orbiting Mars) so range is not a problem.
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