Rover set for new adventure on Mars is in the near future

Published 6:58 pm Friday, September 11, 2020

NASA has reportedly declined to buy a seat for an astronaut on the next Russian trip to the International Space Station (ISS). This means that our tax dollars for the trip will stay in the U.S., which amount to about $86 million. Let’s hope that SpaceX can make another crewed, flawless trip to the ISS which is scheduled for Oct. 23.

The next rover, which is now on the way to Mars, is scheduled to arrive on Feb. 18, 2021. This will be the most ambitious adventure yet on Mars.

It has a helicopter equipped with camera to scout for the best way for the Rover, Perseverance, whom I have nicknamed Percy, to navigate the terrain.

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NASA has a twin built for testing the controls and navigation of the rover on Mars. They have a simulated Mars terrain area, called the Mars Yard, in California. The twin rover has been moved to the yard and it will be tested as best they can with the various commands.

The time delay for commands to reach Mars varies from 3 to 22 minutes depending on the positions of the Earth and Mars in their orbits.

At the farthest distance, this means that there is a delay of 44 minutes to get an answer back when a command is sent. It seems the best way for the rovers to communicate is to send the signal to an orbiting satellite which acts as a relay station. This requires less power for the rover than if it were sending the signal directly to Earth.
In the future, I would hope we can utilize quantum entanglement, a “spooky communication,” as Einstein calls it.

The communication between two photons or other microscopic particles is instantaneous. Einstein says that it is instantaneous whether they are across the room from each other or light years away.

One scientist said that it seems to be 10,000 times faster than the speed of light.
NASA’s chief of staff, Gabe Sherman, has told that one of the plans for the Artemis program is to establish a presence on the moon in 2024 and be able to sustain it.
But the strategy is to provide a learning and proving situation with the goal of being able to go on to Mars and beyond. The goal for Mars is for a human to plant the United States flag there first.

Sherman also is depending on commercial companies to provide a lower cost transportation system into space than NASA can do alone.
This all depends on government funding.

No matter who wins the election come November, there is bound to be changes whether it will be beneficial for NASA is an unanswerable question.

Back to Earth for a moment.

Walmart has a plan to deliver groceries and household items by air in Fayetteville, North Carolina. They will partner with a company called Flytrex, using drones of course.
From this experimental project, they hope to learn how the customers and the workers fit into the scheme.

Don Lee, a pilot flying out of Lawrence County Airport since 1970, has been in charge of equipment and grounds maintenance for the last several years. He can be reached at