For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – Can you spot NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover mothership in the new aerial photo – shown above – taken by the agency’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter during its 11th incredible and successful flight above?
In addition to photographing Perseverance from above in the thin Martian air Ingenuity is functioning fantastically well as an active aerial scout surveilling future science targets in its recently expanded role supporting the Perseverance rover mothership.
You will have to look carefully to spy Perseverance because she is rather small and tends to blend in with the vast alien terrain of the Red Planet comprising boulders, sand dunes, and rocky outcrops prevalent in the “South Séítah” region of the Jezero Crater landing zone.
Well if you haven’t found her yet, take a gander almost to the top and just right of center
You’ll soon see Perseverance just beyond South Seítah’s dune field as a bright white speck.
The aerial image from the color camera shows what NASA’s Mars rover looks like from about 1,600 feet (500 meters) away and 39 feet (12 meters) up.
We spy with our little eye… a rover! ?#MarsHelicopter spotted @NASAPersevere during its 11th flight. You can see Ingenuity’s foot to the left, its shadow at the bottom center, & if you look up & slightly to the right, you’ll see our robotic scientist. https://t.co/6GT4JkiJsg pic.twitter.com/gRUWWi4DEi
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) August 11, 2021
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, the chopper team says.
Here is a zoomed in view for a better glimpse of Perseverance:
“Ingenuity’s aerial images are awesome – but even better when you get to play ‘Where’s Perseverance?’ with them,” said Robert Hogg, in a statement.
“Once you find our rover and zoom in, you can make out some details, like the wheels, remote sensing mast, and the MMRTG” – the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator – “on the aft end.”
The chopper team is now working in tandem with the rover team and used Flight 11 “to keep Ingenuity ahead of the rover.”
In this way Ingenuity can continue to support Perseverance’s science goals by photographing intriguing geologic features from the air.
During Flight 11 Ingenuity flew north-by-northwest at 11 mph (five meters per second) for a total flight time of 130.9 seconds.
It then landed safely at 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,” said officials with the Mars rover team.
“#MarsHelicopter has safely flown to a new location! Ingenuity flew for 130.9 seconds and traveled about 380 meters before landing at a spot that will set up a series of future reconnaissance flights to help @NASAPersevere in its search for ancient microbial life,” the NASA JPL handlers tweeted.
#MarsHelicopter has safely flown to a new location! Ingenuity flew for 130.9 seconds and traveled about 380 meters before landing at a spot that will set up a series of future reconnaissance flights to help @NASAPersevere in its search for ancient microbial life. pic.twitter.com/XmIjmDzlyP
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) August 5, 2021
Here is a map of Flight 11:
Overall to date on a total of 11 flights Ingenuity has logged 19 minutes and approximately 1.2 nautical miles (2221 m) in the Martian skies.
On the prior 10th flight NASA’s groundbreaking Ingenuity Helicopter captured its first ever 3D aerial view of Mars while flying above the Red Planet’s surface – and accomplished that during its most complex flight to date on July 24.
Flight 12 is upcoming no earlier than August 16 on Sol 174.
Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, Artemis and NASA missions, SLS, Orion, SpaceX, ULA, 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.
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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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