It’s not often that you hear about a man and a bird becoming best friends. However, that’s precisely what happened after firefighter Matt Owens rescued a young magpie – that he named Swoop – and cared for it like one of his own.
Injured And Abandoned
Matt and Swoop didn’t meet in the most fortunate of circumstances, given that the latter was bleeding and abandoned on the side of the road. The firefighter was concerned about the bird’s chances of survival on its own, which is why he scooped the animal up and brought them home. There was no resistance from Swoop, presumably because they were too weak to try and get away. Thankfully, Owens meant the magpie no harm; he just wanted to help.
A Surprising Friendship
Taking care of a bird isn’t something that the firefighter was necessarily experienced in. However, he managed to nurse the magpie back to health, raising them alongside his pet cat Mowgli. The feline wasn’t sure what to make of the new addition at first, but it seems the more time they spent together, the closer they became. Unfortunately, Swoop had no intention of sticking around for the long-term, and by the time they’d healed their wounds and grown stronger, it was time to fly the nest.
Serving Their Purpose
Matt wasn’t sad to see Swoop leave, because his hope was always that the magpie would feel ready to return to the wild. What’s more, the timing seemed fitting, given the other things going on in Owens’ life. When he’d found Swoop, his dad had been diagnosed with cancer earlier that day. Unfortunately, his father succumbed to his illness, and it was shortly after he passed away that the bird left their new home. Perhaps Swoop was the universe’s way of keeping the firefighter together during a difficult time.
If Matt, Swoop, and Mowgli aren’t true friendship goals, we don’t know what are.
NASA’s Helicopter Ingenuity Made Its First Flight On Mars
A helicopter called Ingenuity recently took flight on Mars. NASA sent the autonomous helicopter to Mars with the Perseverance rover. It hovered above the Red Planet’s surface for about forty seconds, marking the first flight a spacecraft took on another planet. NASA’s helicopter took off into the thin Martian air on April 19 after it spun its carbon fiber rotor blades and rose about three meters above the ground.
Ingenuity Pivoted to Take a Look at NASA’s Perseverance Rover and Take a Picture
Soon after taking a picture of NASA’s perseverance, the helicopter settled back down. According to Ingenuity project Manager MiMi Aung, the helicopter acted just like it did when it was tested on Earth. Once the data stream from Ingenuity confirmed that it had performed its first flight, the team erupted in cheers. While the flight was originally scheduled for April 11, it was delayed to update the software of the helicopter after a test of the rotor blades showed problems switching from preflight to flight mode. After the reboot, a high-speed spin test on April 16 suggested the shift was likely to work, setting the stage for the April 19 flight.
According to NASA, Ingenuity’s First Flight Was Just a Test of the Technology
Ingenuity’s first mission is just a test flight, so it will not do any science during its course. It will last some 30 Martian days and prove definitively that powered flight in Mars’ thin atmosphere is possible. The plan for future aerial vehicles on Mars is to have them help rovers and human astronauts scout safe paths through the unfamiliar landscapes. Such vehicles can also get to tricky terrain that is out-of-reach for a rover.
Ingenuity’s flight was the pinnacle of over seven years of building, imagining, testing, and hoping for the team at NASA. Aung’s team started testing early prototypes of a Mars helicopter in 2014 without knowing if flying on Mars would even be possible. According to Aung, flight on Mars is challenging for many different reasons. Even though the planet’s gravity is just one-third of Earth’s, the density of the air is a mere one percent of that on Earth.