In some of the best footage yet, the Perseverance rover has taken new video of the Ingenuity helicopter taking off and flying over Mars’ surface.
This video shows the dust initially kicked up by the helicopter’s spinning rotors, as well as Ingenuity taking off, hovering, and beginning its 440-meter (1,444-foot) journey to the southwest. The video was captured on March 9, 2023. At the time the video was taken, the rover was about 120 meters (394 feet) from the helicopter.
Although they’re operated separately, NASA keeps the two robots close together so they can work together, with Ingenuity scouting ahead for potential hazards and areas of interest for Perseverance. For this flight, Ingenuity reached an altitude of 12 meters, repositioning itself for an upcoming flight, and capturing images of science targets along its path.
This is the 47th flight of the tiny rotorcraft. It later landed successfully and off camera at what’s been dubbed Airfield Iota.
Originally, the helicopter was intended to perform a 30-day technology demonstration, making five flights at altitudes ranging 3–5 m (10–16 ft) for up to 90 seconds each. Now, it’s made nearly 50 flights, regularly traveling well over hundreds of meters/feet.
Together, Perseverance and Ingenuity are conducting a several month exploration of an area called Delta Top,” a region that may have had a life-friendly river delta and lake billions of years ago.