What a Feat! Ingenuity Photographed From Space

It seems like only months ago that the Perseverance Rover landed in Jezero Crater on Mars. But in fact, it’s been there longer than a year. Perseverance has had company during this time; its sidekick, the Ingenuity helicopter, completed 23 flights in Mars’ thin atmosphere so far.

The HiRISE camera on the MRO has captured an image of the rover and the tiny helicopter on Mars as it rests on the surface.

Operating the HiRISE (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) on NASA’s MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) might be one of the funnest jobs around. Not only do you get to study Mars in detail, highlighting interesting geological forms and watching giant dust storms. But you get to check in on the landers and orbiters busy working away on the surface.

A recent HiPOD, or HiRISE Picture of the Day, highlighted the tiny Ingenuity helicopter resting on the ground near the Perseverance Rover in the Jezero Crater. Perseverance is currently on a section of fractured bedrock on the floor of the ancient paleolake, and Ingenuity is about 200 meters to the west.

The larger yellow square shows Perseverance’s location and the smaller yellow square is where Ingenuity is sitting. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona.

This pair of larger images puts Perseverance and Ingenuity into the context of their mission at Jezero Crater. The ancient delta is clearly visible in the image on the right. The colours in that image are from MRO’s CRISM instrument, and they correspond to different minerals present at Jezero Crater.

Perseverance has been featured in another recent HIPOD. The people at HiRISE suggested that Perseverance could make its way out of Jezero Crater if the mission were extended. That HIPOD showed a mineral-rich area with interesting landforms well west of Jezero Crater that could be a potential landing location for the Mars Sample Return mission.

But for now, Perseverance and Ingenuity are busy working their way through Jezero. Perseverance has collected some of its samples already, and its SuperCam instruments have been busy testing rocks in-situ. It’s also been recording the sound on Mars, though mission operators say it’s eerily quiet.

This isn’t the first time that HiRISE has checked in on Perseverance. HiRISE also captured an image of Perseverance back in October 2021.

We’re sure this won’t be the last time Perseverance is featured in HiRISE images. Along with all the operational reasons to track the rover with the high-resolution camera, it’s a great way to keep Perseverance and Ingenuity’s many fans up to date.

Evan Gough

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