NASA’s Tiny Ingenuity Helicopter Seen From Space in New Photos!

NASA’s Tiny Ingenuity Helicopter Seen From Space in New Photos!

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has provided breathtaking images of the Red Planet from orbit throughout the years, as well as seeing the robotic explorers we’ve despatched to the Red Planet. Its acute eye had to be especially sharp to locate Ingenuity, our Mars helicopter and one of the tiniest vehicles we’ve launched there. The photographs, taken with the HiRISE (high resolution imagine experiment) camera on March 31, show ingenuity on what seems to be wavey bedrock, with its twin rover Perseverance on a massive rock formation approximately 200 meters (656 feet) distant.

Ingenuity has completed its 25th trip, well exceeding the five flights planned over Mars. The small helicopter flew at a speed of 5.5 meters per second (12.3 miles per hour) on its most recent flight, the quickest it has ever flown on Mars.

HiRISE monitors the surface assets of current and former Mars spacecraft missions on a regular basis. This contains the most recent NASA lander to Mars, the Perseverance rover, which landed in Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021.

The rover, which measures 3 by 2.7 meters (10 feet by 9 feet), is perched on the broken bedrock of the Máaz Formation, which is assumed to be igneous (volcanic) in origin. The key scientific objective is the deltaic deposit, which is still several kilometers to the north and is considered to have developed billions of years ago from silt transported by an old river. 

During its lengthy journey, HiRISE is expected to photograph Perseverance once again. The Ingenuity helicopter, which has performed 23 successful flights in Jezero since deployment, is also 200 meters to the west.

Although the spacecraft are difficult to see in the black-and-white photograph, annotated versions from NASA show the two from above. Perseverance, dubbed “Percy” in the photograph, is shown perched on the fractured surface of a massive rock formation known as “Máaz,” the Navajo word for “Mars.” Ingenuity stands on the bedrock about 656 feet (200 meters) to the left of the rover. As part of a partnership with the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President, a number of Martian features have been given Navajo names.

Perseverance was dispatched to Mars with two major missions in mind: collecting samples for eventual return to Earth and looking for signs of ancient life on Mars. Within the rover, ingenuity was sent to Mars. While the helicopter was only supposed to fly a few times as part of a technical demonstration, its success has resulted in the craft flying 22 times and assisting Perseverance in scoping new exploring areas.