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NASA releases 3D video of Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flight

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NASA releases 3D video of Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flight

NASA released a video this week giving viewers the chance to witness the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s historic third flight in 3D.

In a release on Wednesday, the agency said that the video was meant to approximate standing on the Martian planet and witnessing the action “firsthand.”

“When NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took to the Martian skies on its third flight on April 25, the agency’s Perseverance rover was there to capture the historic moment. Now NASA engineers have rendered the flight in 3D, lending dramatic depth to the flight as the helicopter ascends, hovers, then zooms laterally off-screen before returning for a pinpoint landing,” the agency said.

The Perseverance Mars rover’s zoomable dual-camera Mastcam-Z instrument produced the video and other images NASA says provide “key data” for navigation and aids in scientists’ efforts to locate rocket targets – and potentially ancient microbial life.

NASA also announced Tuesday that the rover’s robotic arm had begun conducting science operations, including a close examination of the planet’s terrain and environment. 

The Mastcam-Z imager took shots of reddish-brown Martian rocks that the team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California is trying to classify as sedimentary or igneous, or formed by volcanic activity.

JPL imaging scientist Justin Maki led the team that put together the video of the rotorcraft’s flight, according to the release, which noted that frames of the video had been reprojected to optimize viewing in an anaglyph.

The video was a first for Maki, who had reportedly been creating 3D imaging of Mars since his days as a graduate student. 

“The Mastcam-Z video capability was inherited from the Mars Science Laboratory MARDI (Mars Descent Imager) camera,” he said. “To be reusing this capability on a new mission by acquiring 3D video of a helicopter flying above the surface of Mars is just spectacular.” 

Perseverance’s drivers and arm operators reportedly use a “more sophisticated” 3D system, but Maki’s team members have also been reviewing still 3D images to map out rover drives.

“A helicopter flying on Mars opens a new era for Mars exploration. It’s a great demonstration of a new technology for exploration,” he said. “With each flight we open up more possibilities.”

Ingenuity’s April 25 flight was one of five successful experimental endeavors – with one failed attempt.

In April, NASA announced that the helicopter would enter a new operations demonstration phase, having already proven that powered, controlled flight is possible on the red planet.

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Miami Beach building collapse

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Miami Beach building collapse

More than 80 fire rescue units are responding to a partial building collapse this morning just north of Miami Beach and rescues are underway, officials said.

It was a high-rise condominium building and rescues of trapped residents were underway, reports CBS Miami.

A boy was pulled from the rubble of the collapsed condo building and was placed onto a stretcher, NBC 2 News reports.

According to CBS Miami, a man who was evacuated from a nearby hotel said, “The building – one of these huge buildings – gone! … The building – it’s gone. … The whole building’s gone. … Oh my gosh. This is the most insane thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

It’s unclear if there are any injuries. Miami Beach police and fire departments are responding to the building in Surfside. 

Multiple police and fire departments from across Miami-Dade County are also assisting.

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Man sentenced to a year in prison for buying endangered animal parts

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Man sentenced to a year in prison for buying endangered animal parts

A Florida man was sentenced to prison last week for buying parts of dead endangered animals.

Steven Phillip Griffin II, 36, was sentenced to a year and day in a federal lockup after pleading guilty in November to receiving and transporting endangered species in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Griffin was busted after he met undercover wildlife agents in Texas in May 2019 to buy two Southern White rhino horns, four elephant ivory tusks, one African lion skull and three leopard skulls for $9,750, investigators said.

In the two years leading up to the meeting, Griffin communicated with an undercover agent to negotiate the deal, according to the plea agreement.

He told the agent he collects dead animal parts, including skulls and full skeletons and even sent pictures of his collection.

After the meeting, authorities operating with a search warrant seized a variety of animal parts, guns and ammunition from Griffin’s Tampa Bay home.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon.

With Post wires

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Man arrested for taking $1.2M yacht on joyride in upstate NY

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Man arrested for taking $1.2M yacht on joyride in upstate NY

A man was arrested after he stole a $1.2 million yacht and took it for a joy ride from upstate New York to Vermont over one of the Great Lakes, reports said.

And when 56-year-old Robert Morris was busted by police he made the outrageous claim he was only giving it a test drive, according to local reports.

The would-be captain took the 48-foot yacht christened “Volans” from New York’s Rouses Point Marina on Monday morning and was caught after crossing Lake Champlain to a state park off the coast of St. Albans, Vt., WCAX reported.

The boat, a Jeanneau Prestige 500, was located by a US Border Patrol helicopter, NBC 5 reported. Morris was nabbed on Burton Island by the St. Albans Police Department and slapped with multiple charges, including possession of stolen property, the station said.

At a court hearing the day after his arrest, Smith was talkative and said he “was water testing the boat after making mechanical fixes,” WCAX said.

Morris was a wanted fugitive in New Hampshire and had a list of prior arrests, according to WCAX. He had also told cops he was given permission to take the boat and said he was caught bringing the yacht back to its owner, which the owner denies, WCAX said.

The accused, who made an “inappropriate gesture” to the webcam as he left the meeting, will undergo a competency exam, the station reported.

Morris is to be extradited to New York to face additional charges, the report said.

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