Perseverance Rover Watches Ingenuity Mars Helicopter's 54th Flight
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover captured this video of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter's 54th flight on Aug. 3, 2023. After performing a preflight "wiggle check" with its rotors, the helicopter takes off, hovers at an altitude of 16 feet (5 meters), and rotates to the left, before touching back down. The mission conducted the short pop-up flight to check Ingenuity's navigation system.
The video was captured by the rover's Mastcam-Z imager from a distance of about 180 feet (55 meters).
Arizona State University in Tempe leads the operations of the Mastcam-Z instrument, working in collaboration with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, on the design, fabrication, testing, and operation of the cameras, and in collaboration with the Niels 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.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed for the agency by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.
For more about Perseverance: mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/