Mars Helicopter Ingenuity spots Perseverance Rover on Mars surface while in flight

Mars Helicopter Ingenuity completed its third flight on Sunday. Images and video have been arriving back on Earth since then, and on Tuesday a notable image arrived.

While in flight, Ingenuity captured the Perseverance Rover in the corner of one of the images from its color horizon-facing camera which is intended to capture the terrain. This marks the first time the Ingenuity has photographed Perseverance. We have seen many images and even videos of Ingenuity from Perseverance Rover, but not the other way around until now.

In the image, Perseverance is slightly over 200 ft away from Ingenuity, and directly in front of Ingenuity is the rover’s initial landing site. The airfield had to meet a number of criteria, including being of sufficient dimensions, slope, and the size of rocks in order to be an acceptable location for Ingenuity to take flight. This new image really illustrates how close the initial Perseverance landing was to an acceptable airfield.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Perseverance also captured video of Ingenuity’s third flight. For this flight, Ingenuity reached a height of 16 feet, the same altitude as the second flight, and flew an impressive 328-foot round trip before landing 80 seconds after liftoff.

Ingenuity is expected to fly a total of 5 flights within its mission timeframe, the fourth could be coming later this week if it keeps up with the current timeline. Each flight will get longer, more complex, and add more chance of failure.

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