Science

Ingenuity Helicopter Captures Image of Perseverance Rover

On August 4, 2021, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter performed its 11th flight on Mars, snapping multiple photographs during its trip.

This image shows the South Séítah region of Jezero Crater, captured by NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter during its 11th flight on August 4, 2021. At the bottom center of the image is Ingenuity’s shadow. Above it, toward the top of the frame -- just beyond the dune field and right of center -- is the Perseverance rover (white circle). Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.

This image shows the South Séítah region of Jezero Crater, captured by NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter during its 11th flight on August 4, 2021. At the bottom center of the image is Ingenuity’s shadow. Above it, toward the top of the frame — just beyond the dune field and right of center — is the Perseverance rover (white circle). Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.

Ingenuity began as a technological demonstration to prove that powered, controlled flight on Mars is possible.

It is now an operations demonstration intended to investigate how a rotorcraft can add an aerial dimension to missions like Perseverance, scouting possible areas of scientific interest and offering detailed views of nearby areas too hazardous for the rover to explore.

“Ingenuity’s aerial images are awesome — but even better when you get to play ‘where’s Perseverance?’ with them,” said Dr. Robert Hogg, a senior systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.

“Once you find our rover and zoom in, you can make out some details, like the wheels, remote sensing mast, and the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) on the aft end.”

“So where is Perseverance? At the bottom center of the image, you can find Ingenuity’s shadow.”

“From there, go straight up. Just beyond South Seítah’s dune field near the top of the image and just to the right of center is a bright white speck.”

“That’s what a Mars rover looks like from about 500 m (1,600 feet) away and 12 m (39 feet) up.”

Ingenuity’s 11th flight was essentially designed to keep the helicopter ahead of the rover, allowing it to continue to support Perseverance’s science goals by photographing intriguing geologic features from the air.

Flying north-by-northwest at 5 m/sec (11 mph), it took Ingenuity 130.9 seconds to make the trip to its 8th airfield.

From this new staging area, the helicopter is scheduled to make at least one reconnaissance flight of the geologically intriguing South Séítah area.

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This article is based on text provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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