Perseverance's Selfie with Ingenuity
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NASA's Perseverance Mars rover took a selfie with the Ingenuity helicopter, seen here about 13 feet (3.9 meters) from the rover in this image taken April 6, 2021, the 46th Martian day, or sol, of the mission by the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) camera on the SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals) instrument, located at the end of the rover's long robotic arm.
Perseverance's selfie with Ingenuity is made up of 62 individual images stitched together once they are sent back to Earth; they were taken in sequence while the rover was looking at the helicopter, then again while it was looking at the WATSON camera. The Curiosity rover takes similar selfies using a camera on its robotic arm. Videos explaining how the rovers take their selfies can be found here.
There are several versions of this selfie. In addition to a full image showing the rover looking at the camera, there is a full image showing the rover looking down at the Ingenuity helicopter (Figure 1); an "over the shoulder" view of the rover looking at the camera (Figure 2); an "over the shoulder" view looking at the Ingenuity helicopter (Figure 3); and an animated GIF showing the rover looking at the camera and then back at the Ingenuity helicopter (animation link).
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory built and manages operations of Perseverance and Ingenuity for the agency. Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA. WATSON was built by Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, and is operated jointly by MSSS and JPL.
The Mars helicopter technology demonstration activity is supported by NASA's Science Mission Directorate, the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, and the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate.
A key objective for Perseverance's mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).
Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA's Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
For more about Perseverance: mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/
For more about Ingenuity: go.nasa.gov/ingenuity