Ingenuity Mars Helicopter's Flight 13: Zoomed-In View From Perseverance
Video footage from the Mastcam-Z instrument aboard NASA's Perseverance Mars rover captured this closeup view of the takeoff and landing of the 13th flight of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter on Sept. 4, 2021. The 160.5-second reconnaissance sortie involved flying into challenging terrain and taking images of a specific outcrop from multiple angles. The closeup video of takeoff and landing was acquired as part of a science observation intended to measure the dust plumes generated by the helicopter.
At the beginning of the video, Ingenuity is near the lower left of frame, at a distance of about 980 feet (300 meters) from the rover. It climbs to an altitude of to 26 feet (8 meters) before beginning its sideways translation. The helicopter leaves the camera's field of view on the right. Soon after, the helicopter returns into the field of view (the majority of frames that did not capture helicopter after it exited the camera's field of view were purposely not downlinked from Mars by the team) and lands at a location near its takeoff point.
To obtain the footage, the two-camera Mastcam-Z's "right eye" was at its maximum zoom setting (110mm focal length). The video is shot at 6 frames per second. Another view (PIA24978) was taken at the same time by Mastcam-Z's "left eye" imager and provides a wider perspective of the same flight.
The Mastcam-Z investigation is led and operated by Arizona State University in Tempe, working in collaboration with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, California, on the design, fabrication, testing, and operation of the cameras, and in collaboration with the Neils Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen on the design, fabrication, and testing of the calibration targets.
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.
JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.
For more information about Perseverance: