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NASA’s Perseverance Rover Captures Video and Audio of Fourth Ingenuity Flight

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For the first time, a spacecraft on another planet has recorded the sounds of a separate spacecraft. NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover used one of its two microphones to listen as the Ingenuity helicopter flew for the fourth time on April 30, 2021. A new video combines footage of the solar-powered helicopter taken by Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z imager with audio from a microphone belonging to the rover’s SuperCam laser instrument.

The laser zaps rocks from a distance, studying their vapor with a spectrometer to reveal their chemical composition. The instrument’s microphone records the sounds of those laser strikes, which provide information on the physical properties of the targets, such as their relative hardness. The microphone can also record ambient noise, like the Martian wind.

With the Perseverance parked 262 feet (80 meters) from the helicopter’s takeoff and landing spot, the rover mission wasn’t sure if the microphone would pick up any sound of the flight. Even during flight, when the helicopter’s blades spin at 2,537 rpm, the sound is greatly muffled by the thin Martian atmosphere. It is further obscured by Martian wind gusts during the initial moments of the flight.

Footage captured from Preserverance Rover.

“This is a very good surprise,” said David Mimoun, a professor of planetary science at Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace (ISAE-SUPAERO) in Toulouse, France, and science lead for the SuperCam Mars microphone. “We had carried out tests and simulations that told us the microphone would barely pick up the sounds of the helicopter, as the Mars atmosphere damps the sound propagation strongly. We have been lucky to register the helicopter at such a distance. This recording will be a gold mine for our understanding of the Martian atmosphere.”

Scientists made the audio, which is recorded in mono, easier to hear by isolating the 84 hertz helicopter blade sound, reducing the frequencies below 80 hertz and above 90 hertz, and increasing the volume of the remaining signal. Some frequencies were clipped to bring out the helicopter’s hum, which is loudest when the helicopter passes through the field of view of the camera.

“This is an example of how the different payload instrument suites complement each other, resulting in information synergy,” said Soren Madsen, Perseverance payload development manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California. JPL built Perseverance as well as Ingenuity and operates both of them. “In this particular case, the microphone and video let us observe the helicopter as if we are there, and additional information, such as the Doppler shift, confirms details of the flight path.”

SuperCam is led by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where the instrument’s body unit was developed. That part of the instrument includes several spectrometers, control electronics, and software. The mast unit, including the microphone, was developed and built by several laboratories of the CNRS (French research center), ISAE-Supaéro, and French universities under the contracting authority of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (the French space agency). Calibration targets on the rover deck are provided by Spain’s University of Valladolid.

Arizona State University leads operations of the Mastcam-Z instrument, working in collaboration with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego. The Mastcam-Z team includes dozens of scientists, engineers, operations specialists, managers, and students from a variety of institutions.

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In Pictures: Mayor Dr. Mohamed Muizzu visits the newly opened Ihsaan Villi in Villimalé.

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China raises voice over illegal military intervention against sovereign states.

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China and a number of other countries has raised concern over military intervention under the pretext of human rights. They raised their concerns at the ongoing 47th session of the Human Rights Council.

Jiang Duan, Minister of the Chinese mission to the United Nations in Geneva, delivered a joint statement to the council yesterday. In it he stated that certain countries are conducting military interventions in sovereign states under the pretext of democracy, human rights and the “responsibility to protect”.

He stated that “These acts severely violate the universally recognized norms of international law, undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the relevant countries, and damage world peace and security,”

He pointed out that such interventions have caused massive losses to the socioeconomic development of those countries along with civilian casualties and force displacement. He also stated that such military interventions are the “root cause of refugee and migrant crisis and regional turbulence.”.

He also added that “Certain countries even connive at their soldiers’ unlawful killing and torture of civilians in overseas military operations, which constitutes serious war crimes and crimes against humanity,”.

Jiang Duan urged the UN institutions to follow up  on illegal military interventions, and called out for the countries concerned to immediately cease their illegal military interventions and to make reparations for the victimized countries and their people.

Source: Xinhua News Agency. 

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Microsoft’s Windows 11 is officially on the way.

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Microsoft has officially announced the next version of Window today, which will be Windows 11. After months of teases and leak, Windows 11 is expected to arrive in the last quarter of this year. Microsoft has promised to make it available as a free upgrade to eligible Windows 10 users and to new PC’s from this year’s holiday.

Microsoft redesigns the user interface for Windows 11, with a centred Start menu and Taskbar. Live tiles are replaced with a grid of icon that can be rearranged and pinned to Start. There are also new Widgets feature that houses things like your calendar, weather, sports leaderboard, and latest news. System Tray also was improved with a new split Notification and Quick Action user interface.

Microsoft’s Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer, Windows + Devices wrote on Microsoft blog “We’ve simplified the design and user experience to empower your productivity and inspire your creativity. It’s modern, fresh, clean and beautiful. From the new Start button and taskbar to each sound, font and icon, everything was done intentionally to put you in control and bring a sense of calm and ease. We put Start at the center and made it easier to quickly find what you need.”

One of the surprises of the event was Microsoft’s announcement that it will be using Amazon’s Appstore to bring Android apps to Windows 11. Microsoft will be utilizing Intel’s Bridge technology to make Android apps work on Windows 11.

During the closing remarks, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said “Windows recognizes that there is no personal computing without personal agency. Personal computing requires choice, and we need to nurture and grow our own agency over computing itself. We want to remove the barriers that too often exist today and provide real choice and connection.”

He laid out his vision for Windows 11 as a “platform for platform creators,” and in doing so, he issued a subtle but nonetheless stinging critique of Apple.

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