Ingenuity Mars helicopter captures Perseverance rover in unprecedented aerial shot

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter captured a surprising aerial shot of the purple planet and Perseverance Mars rover on its third flight on Sunday. 

The company’s Southern California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) wrote in an outline of the picture that the helicopter had been flying at an altitude of 16 ft and was round 279 ft away from the rover on the time it was taken. 


“I spy with my little eye…a rover. See should you can spot @NASAPersevere on this picture taken by the #MarsHelicopter throughout its third flight on April 25, 2021,” they wrote in an accompanying tweet. “Ingenuity was flying at an altitude of 16 ft (5 m) and ~279 ft (~85 m) from the rover on the time.”

“Oh hey, there I’m!” NASA’s Perseverance Twitter account replied. “By no means thought I’d be the topic of one other photographer on Mars. Nice seize by the #MarsHelicopter staff.”

It is an unprecedented view of a Mars rover. reported Wednesday that whereas different NASA Mars rovers had taken pictures in earlier years, the rovers have been tethered to the planet’s floor.

After touchdown with Perseverance on Mars in February, Ingenuity has efficiently and autonomously tried three experimental flights, all with varied levels of issue.

On Thursday at 10:12 a.m. ET, the rotorcraft was set to conduct its fourth flight.

It might depart from Wright Brothers Area — the title of the Martian airfield — climbing to an altitude of 16 ft and head southward for 276 ft.

“Because it flies, the rotorcraft will use its downward-looking navigation digital camera to gather photographs of the floor each 4 ft (1.2 meters) from that time till it travels a complete of 436 ft (133 meters) downrange,” NASA wrote in a Wednesday information launch. “Then, Ingenuity will go right into a hover and take photographs with its colour digital camera earlier than heading again to Wright Brothers Area.”

As Ingenuity has met or surpassed all of its “tech demo targets,” NASA wrote in a tweet that they’d “push efficiency” and up the period airborne to 117 seconds, improve the max airspeed to three.5 meters per second and greater than double the full vary.

The primary information from the flight is scheduled to return to JPL at 1:21 p.m. ET.


After reviewing the information, the Ingenuity staff will think about a plan for its fifth and remaining flight.

“When Ingenuity’s touchdown legs touched down after that third flight, we knew we had accrued greater than sufficient information to assist engineers design future generations of Mars helicopters,” J. “Bob” Balaram, Ingenuity chief engineer at JPL, mentioned within the launch. “Now we plan to increase our vary, pace, and period to achieve additional efficiency perception.”

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