1st Look at NASA’s Unveiled Mars Helicopter Ingenuity on Perseverance Rover Belly as Helipad Takeoff Site Located: Mosaic

1st Look at NASA’s Unveiled Mars Helicopter Ingenuity on Perseverance Rover Belly as Heliport Takeoff Site Located: Mosaic
1st look at NASA’s Mars Ingenuity helicopter attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover unveiled after ejecting the debris shield protective cover dropped flat onto the Martian surface directly underneath her on Sol 30 (March 21, 2021. This Sol 30 belly mosaic view shows the debris on the surface and between the six wheels This mosaic was stitched from 8 Sherloc Watson color raw images by Ken Kremer for Space UpClose shows local scene with wheel tracks, rocks and soil out to the horizon and backdropped by Jezero Crater wall some 2 mi (3 km) away from where Perseverance touched down on Feb. 18, 2021 on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL/Ken Kremer/Space UpClose

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – For the first time in history a Martian Helicopter has been unveiled on the surface of the Red Planet as NASA’s experimental Ingenuity rotocraft catches humanity’s very first glimpse of the delightfully diminutive and cute craft -attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover after the protective debris shield was dropped, and imaged on Sunday, Sol 30, March 21 by the powerful high resolution camera on the terminus of the robotic arm’s turret, or hand.

Catch the stunning first ever view of Ingenuity – the first Helicopter to ride to Mars and the first to be touched by Martian air – in the brand new wide angle mosaic view captured on Sol 30 (March 21, 2021) which I assembled from 8 color raw images taken by the Sherloc Watson camera on the robots turret pointed back to the SUZ-sized vehicle

The dramatic Sol 30 mosaic shows Ingenuity still stowed and all folded up on the underbelly of Perseverance with the dropped debris shield lying flat on the floor of the Jezero Crater landing site and in between the six wheels with wheel tracks and rocks behind in this expansive view out to the crater wall.

Meanwhile after a pictorial search with the high resolution mast mounted cameras the science and engineering team has located a ‘helipad’ which they will drive to soon and where they will eventually drop Ingenuity as soon as early April for the history making test flight  campaign in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars.

“The teams operating Ingenuity and NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover have chosen the flight zone where the helicopter will attempt the first powered, controlled flights on another planet,” said NASA officials.

Dropping the debris shield was the first step to getting Ingenuity unfolded and dropped onto Mars in an audacious attempt to carry out the first ever powered flight on a world beyond Earth.

“Away goes the debris shield, and here’s our first look at the helicopter. It’s stowed sideways, folded up and locked in place, so there’s some reverse origami to do before I can set it down. First though, I’ll be off to the designated “helipad,” a couple days’ drive from here,” Perseverance tweeted.

The debris shield was critical for protecting Ingenuity during the scorching heats and stresses of the ‘7 minutes of Terror’ culminating in the safe and sound soft touchdown of NASA’s Perseverance rover just over a month ago on Feb. 18 after a 7 month interplanetary journey from Earth.

Watch this NASA JPL video showing a drop test of the debris heat shield on Earth:

“Lots of activity next week as I get ready to drop off the helicopter for its test flights. It’s tucked underneath me behind a protective debris shield, which will be the first thing to go. Here’s my team testing some of what’s coming up,” Perseverance tweeted.

The team describes the upcoming activities to ready Ingenuity for its flight tests on Mars – in the NASA JPL video tweet:

The team has already located a spot for the Ingenuity test flights:

To get ready for the debris shield drop, Perseverance first had to drop the belly pan cover protecting the sample caching system in front.

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover ejected the belly pan cover protecting the Sample Caching System and dropped it flat onto the Martian surface directly underneath her on March 12 and 13 (Sol 21 and 22). This stunning Sol 21 belly pan view shows the view before protective cover ejection onto the surface and between the six wheels before driving away on Sol 23, March 14, 2021. This mosaic was stitched from 8 Sherloc Watson color raw images by Ken Kremer for Space UpClose shows local scene with rocks and soil out to the horizon and backdropped by Jezero Crater wall some 2 mi (3 km) away from where Perseverance touched down on Feb. 18, 2021 on Mars. The rover microphone has recorded the first ever sounds of driving on Mars on a prior Sol. Credit: NASA/JPL/Ken Kremer/Space UpClose

Check out my trio of mosaics herein showing the before and after views of dropping the protective belly pan cover for the  sample caching system directly below on Sols 21 and 22 and then driving away a short distance on Sol 23.

 

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover ejected the belly pan cover protecting the Sample Caching System and dropped it flat onto the Martian surface directly underneath her on March 12 and 13 (Sol 21 and 22). This stunning Sol 22 belly pan view shows the protective cover after ejection onto the surface and between the six wheels before driving away on Sol 23, March 14, 2021. This mosaic was stitched from 8 Sherloc Watson color raw images by Ken Kremer for Space UpClose shows local scene with rocks and soil out to the horizon and backdropped by Jezero Crater wall some 2 mi (3 km) away from where Perseverance touched down on Feb. 18, 2021 on Mars. The rover microphone has recorded the first ever sounds of driving on Mars on a prior Sol. Credit: NASA/JPL/Ken Kremer/Space UpClose

The Sherloc Watson camera is located on the robotic arm hand, or turret seen in my Sol 17 mosaic below.

UpClose with the Mars Perseverance robotic arm and science instrument turret at the end. This colorized mosaic of the raised robotic arm and turret with PIXL X-ray instrument (center, white) and drill (right) was stitched from four black and while raw images taken by the front left navcam camera on Sol 17, March 8, 2021 after the team commanded the rover to extend and flex the arm for testing and check outs through multiple motions – backdropped by Jezero Crater where Perseverance touched down on Feb. 18, 2021 on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL/Ken Kremer/Space UpClose

 

The solar powered Ingenuity helicopter is a technology demonstration experiment aimed at attempting the first flight on Mars.

It is stowed on the belly and receives its charge from the rover’s power supply.

The four legged Ingenuity has a mass of about 4.0 pounds (1.8  kilograms) and stands 1.6 feet or 19 inches (0.49 meters) high. It is equipped with two counter rotating blades for lift spinning at about 2,400 rpm and two cameras.

After Ingenuity is deployed on Mars’ surface its batteries will be charged solely by the helicopter’s own solar panel. If Ingenuity survives the cold Martian nights during its preflight checkout, the team will proceed with testing.

My Perseverance rover shadow selfie mosaic was also featured at the Space.com space news website – here.

 

Shadow of a Martian Robot – Perseverance. This mosaic was stitched from two color raw images taken by the front left hazcam on Sol 15, March 6, 2021 after a short drive from the “Octavia E. Butler Landing” landing site where Perseverance touched down on Feb. 18, 2021 in Jezero Crater on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL/Ken Kremer/Space UpClose

Watch our live and complete ‘Stay Curious’ with live Perseverance landing commentary Feb 18, 2021 as well as March 22 and earlier programs on Mars Mania on Feb 12.

 

 

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, Artemis and NASA missions, SpaceX, Starlink, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2, Demo-2, ISS, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events
Ken has created hundreds of widely published Mars rover mosaics and lectures also about NASA’s Mars rovers
Please consider supporting Ken’s work by donating at Patreon:
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Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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