NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover had a ringside seat on the latest flyby of its junior exploration partner.
The agency’s Ingenuity helicopter flew into the Martian skies for the 54th time on Aug. 3, performing a simple up-and-down hop that lasted just 24 seconds.
Perseverance was close by then, and it scored a sortie with its powerful Mastcam-Z camera system. The resulting video captures the flight in stunning detail, showing Creation soaring, hovering and spinning to cast an incantation before returning to rest on the red dirt of Mars’ Jezero Crater.
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By the way, he brought back the beautiful creativity in photography, by taking a picture of Perseverance during the short trip.
Perseverance and Ingenuity touched down together inside the 28-mile-wide (45-kilometer) Jezero in February 2021. The rover is searching for signs of past Martian life and collecting samples for a future return to Earth. Dexterity assists those missions by doing scouting work for the Perseverance team.
That was not the original function of the 4-pound (1.8 kg) chopper; Its primary mission was to show that atmospheric exploration is possible on Mars despite its thin atmosphere. Ingenuity made it through an initial campaign of five flights, then morphed into a more ambitious expanded mission that now counts nearly 50 sorties.
Flight 54 was unusually simple and short for the creative, but there’s a reason for it: The helicopter team wanted to make sure everything was right with the helicopter after Flight 53 ended prematurely. The latest hop went according to plan, and people at Ingenuity are confident it can continue to fly for a while on Mars.
This wasn’t the first time Perseverance had recorded Creativity flying on the Red Planet. For example, the large rover captured video of the helicopter in action on March 9, during its 47th trip to Mars.
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