NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Chopper Snaps Amazing Aerial Image of Perseverance, Ready to Push Envelope with All Flight Goals Met

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Chopper Snaps Amazing Aerial Image of Perseverance, Ready to Push Envelope with All Flight Goals Met
Annotated and zoomed in version of Mars Helicopter imaging the Perseverance Rover from the air shows location of the rover and the landing site for context. NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is visible in the upper left corner of this image the agency’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took during its third flight, on April 25, 2021. The helicopter was flying at an altitude of 16 feet (5 meters) and roughly 279 feet (85 meters) from the rover at the time. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – NASA’s experimental Ingenuity Martian chopper snapped an amazing first ever aerial image of the agency’s Perseverance rover residing on the surface of the Red Planet  while acing its 3rd tremendous test flight on Sunday, April 25 – when it flew faster, farther and bolder than ever before and continues its history making achievements as humanity’s first aircraft to fly beyond Earth earlier this month.

And with all test goals met NASA and the team is ready to push the chopper to the limits at ‘Wright Brothers field’ where it has been flying from thus far in the test campaign.

The stunning image of the SUV-sized rover was taken as the experimental helicopter during its 3rd successful test flight on April 25, 2021.

Ingenuity was flying at an altitude of 16 feet (5 meters) and roughly 279 feet (85 meters) from the rover at the time the amazing image from the air was taken by the choppers high resolution color camera.

Zoomed in version of Mars Helicopter imaging the Perseverance rover. NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is visible in this cropped image from the agency’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter taken during its third flight, on April 25, 2021. Mast at right. The helicopter was flying at an altitude of 16 feet (5 meters) and roughly 279 feet (85 meters) from the rover at the time. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The side looking color camera taking the color aerial images is mounted in the helicopter’s tissue box sized fuselage and pointed approximately 22 degrees below the horizon.

Ingenuity’s high-resolution color camera contains a 4208-by-3120-pixel sensor.

Ingenuity Spots Perseverance From the Air. NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is visible in the upper left corner of this image the agency’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took during its third flight, on April 25, 2021. The helicopter was flying at an altitude of 16 feet (5 meters) and roughly 279 feet (85 meters) from the rover at the time. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

It’s absolutely amazing and virtually serves as a powerful demonstration that helicopters can be used effectively for aerial surveillance on Mars surface and other worlds as well – adding a potent 3rd dimension to NASA’s exploration project.

When Ingenuity flew to a half a football field down range and back on its 3rd flight it achieved ever more challenging objectives far beyond anything demonstrated during testing on Earth while making space exploration history.

The challenges of flying are incredible because the flight test are all fully autonomous flights and are carried out the extremely thin Martian atmosphere with few air molecules amounting to less than 1% as dense as Earth’s– approximately equivalent to 3 times the height of Mount Everest – and under frigid Antarctica-like conditions of 130ºF (-90ºC).

“Now that NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has accomplished the goal of achieving powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on the Red Planet, and with data from its most recent flight test, on April 25, the technology demonstration project has met or surpassed all of its technical objectives. The Ingenuity team now will push its performance envelope on Mars,” NASA said in a statement.

Ingenuity has now flown leaps and bounds farther vs. what’s available in the vacuum test chamber on Earth.

“From millions of miles away, Ingenuity checked all the technical boxes we had at NASA about the possibility of powered, controlled flight at the Red Planet,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, in a statement.

“Future Mars exploration missions can now confidently consider the added capability an aerial exploration may bring to a science mission.”

On its third flight the Ingenuity helicopter took off at 4:31 a.m. EDT (1:31 a.m. PDT), or 12:33 p.m. local Mars time, rising 16 feet (5 meters) on Sunday – the same altitude as its second flight, the team confirmed.

Watch this NASA JPL video of the 3rd test flight compiled from imagery captured by the mast mounted zoomable Mastcam-Z camera.

Video Caption: Perseverance Rover’s Mastcam-Z Captures Ingenuity’s successful Third Flight. NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter takes off and lands in this video captured on April 25, 2021, by Mastcam-Z, an imager aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. As expected, the helicopter flew out of its field of vision while completing a flight plan that took it 164 feet (50 meters) downrange of the landing spot. Keep watching, the helicopter will return to stick the landing. Top speed for today’s flight was about 2 meters per second, or about 4.5 miles-per-hour. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

And it also flew faster – speeding up from 0.5 meters per second in flight #2 to 2 meters per second in flight #3.

Perseverance’s Left Navcam Views Ingenuity During its Third Flight on Mars: NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter can be seen hovering during its third flight on April 25, 2021, as seen by the left Navigation Camera aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. The chopper flew faster and farther to a half football field in length and back. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

The 4th flight has been retargeted to Friday, April 30, after it failed to take off on Thursday due to a ‘watchdog timing’ issue.

The chopper remains healthy.

 

On the 4th flight from ‘Wright Brothers Field’ Ingenuity is scheduled to take off Thursday, April 29, at 10:12 a.m. EDT (7:12 a.m. PDT, 12:30 p.m. local Mars time), with the first data expected back at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California at 1:21 p.m. EDT (10:21 a.m. PDT).

Last time we saw Ingenuity and Perseverance together was the selfie taken on Sol 46 by the robots hand mounted Sherloc Watson camera

Ginny & Percy together on Mars! NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover took a selfie with the Ingenuity helicopter, seen here about 13 feet (3.9 meters) from the rover. This mosaic was taken by the WATSON camera on the rover’s robotic arm on Sol 46, April 6, 2021. Ingenuity rests between wheel track with view to Jezero Crater horizon. This Sol 46 mosaic is comprised of over 50 WATSON camera raw images and was stitched by Ken Kremer for Space UpClose. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Ken Kremer/Space UpClose

Meanwhile enjoy my version of the Sol 46 double selfie mosaic of Ginny and Percy together

Ginny and Percy (nicknames for Ingenuity and Perseverance) are seen together in my new mosaic here about 13 feet (4 meters) apart in imagery taken on April 6, 2021, on Sol 46 of the mission.

Ginny & Percy together on Mars! NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover took a selfie with the Ingenuity helicopter, seen here about 13 feet (3.9 meters) from the rover. This mosaic was taken by the WATSON camera on the rover’s robotic arm on Sol 46, April 6, 2021. Ingenuity rests between wheel track with view to Jezero Crater horizon. This Sol 46 mosaic is comprised of about 40 WATSON camera raw images and was stitched by Ken Kremer for Space UpClose. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Ken Kremer/Space UpClose

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

Black and White Image from Ingenuity’s Third Flight: This black and white image was taken by NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter during its third flight on April 25, 2021. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

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.

This mosaic view shows NASA’s solar powered Ingenuity Mars Helicopter standing upright on Mars surface on all 4 four landing legs resting in between wheel tracks after being dropped about 4 inches (10 cm) from the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover which then drove away to unveil the copter enabling its solar arrays to gather energy. This Sol 43 mosaic is comprised of two right rear hazcam camera color raw images taken on Sol 43 (April 4, 2021) and was stitched 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

Watch my live post NASA SpaceX Crew 2 launch interview on The Donlan Report on News Nation Cable News about the significance of the NASA SpaceX Crew 2 launch to ISS launch, Commercial  Space, Mars rover/helicopter, the future of space travel and Elon Musk’s plan to build a city on Mars.

 

Watch my live interview on ‘Stay Curious’ show about NASA SpaceX Crew 2 mission and NASA Ingenuity Helicopter 1st flight – on April 29 at the American Space Museum Titusville, FL

 

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 purchasing his photos and/or donating at Patreon:

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Ken Kremer

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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