Little NASA Helicopter Mars opened his eyes to the Red Planet.
4 lbs. The (1.8 kg) helicopter, known as the Ingenuity, took its first color photograph on Saturday (April 3), shortly after it was lowered to Martian land. Persistence all-terrain vehicle…
The picture shows “the bottom of the Martian crater Jezero and part of the two wheels of NASA’s Perseverance rover,” the agency said. wrote in the description on monday (April 5) when the photo was posted.
Video: Watch a NASA helicopter on Mars unfold like a butterfly
The car-sized Perseverance landed at a 28-mile (45 kilometers) wide Jezero on February 18 with Ingenuity firmly attached to its belly. Rover unrolled ingenuity on saturday and has since moved a short distance, allowing Martian sunlight to reach the solar-powered rotorcraft.
Over the next few days, Perseverance will move even further to a place called Van Zil Overlook, which offers a good view of the airfield that the mission team members have chosen for Ingenuity. If all goes according to plan, Ingenuity kicks off as early as Sunday (April 11), making its first ever powered flight in the skies over the world beyond Earth.
The goal is to demonstrate that this exploration mode is possible on Mars. If Ingenuity performs well during the five-mission month campaign, future missions on the Red Planet can usually include helicoptersas scouts for rovers and as independent explorers, NASA officials said.
Ingenuity doesn’t require any scientific tools. But the small flyer will take pictures during its flights, and those photos should be sharper than the grainy one taken from Perseverance on Saturday, NASA officials said.
The six-wheeled rover will attempt to document Van Zyl Overlook’s Ingenuity flight program using its high-resolution MastCam-Z camera system. There is even a chance that Perseverance will be able to record audio recordings of Ingenuity flights using its two built-in microphones– said the members of the mission team. However, there are no guarantees regarding sound, given how quickly sound decays in the thin Martian atmosphere.
Ingenuity’s flight program is severely limited to one month because Perseverance has its own business. $ 2.7 billion Mars rover will search for traces of the ancients Mars life at the bottom of Lake Jezero, where a river delta and a large lake were located billions of years ago.
Perseverance will also collect and close dozens of samples that will be returned to Earth as part of a joint NASA / European Space Agency campaign, possibly as early as 2031.
Mike Wall is the author of “There“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the quest for alien life. Follow it on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.