NOV 30, 2021 6:27 AM PST

Perseverance Captures Challenges Faced by Helicopter on Mars

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

The Perseverance rover has captured footage of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter while it was completing its thirteen flight on Mars on September 4, 2021. During this mission, the helicopter explored varied terrain and took images from different angles of a geological feature in the Jezero Crater known as Séítah.

Perseverance is equipped with a camera that shot video of the 160.5-second flight and took closeup footage of the takeoff and landing. This data will tell researchers more about dust plumes that the helicopter generates.

The initial ascent of the helicopter creates a plume of dust, and the craft reaches and altitude of eight meters (26 feet) before maneuvering into position to take images. Ingenuity moves sideways, then offscreen, before returning and landing near where it took off.

"We took off from the crater floor and flew over an elevated ridgeline before dipping into Séítah," said Ingenuity Chief Pilot Håvard Grip of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Since the helicopter's navigation filter prefers flat terrain, we programmed in a waypoint near the ridgeline, where the helicopter slows down and hovers for a moment. Our flight simulations indicated that this little breather would help the helicopter keep track of its heading in spite of the significant terrain variations. It does the same on the way back. It's awesome to actually get to see this occur, and it reinforces the accuracy of our modeling and our understanding of how to best operate Ingenuity."

Ingenuity went dark in October because Mars and Earth were on opposite sides of the Sun, and no communications could be sent from here to there. After work resumed, Flight 15 was completed, and Ingenuity will soon be taking its sixteenth flight.

Sources: NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
OCT 11, 2022
Space & Astronomy
NASA's Juno Spacecraft Obtains Images of Jupiter's Moon Europa
NASA's Juno Spacecraft Obtains Images of Jupiter's Moon Europa
NASA’s Juno spacecraft was designed to study the interior and origins of Jupiter, and has been in orbit around Jup ...
OCT 30, 2022
Space & Astronomy
A "Marshmallow" in Space!
A "Marshmallow" in Space!
In a paper recently published in The Astronomical Journal, astronomers have observed the lowest-density – or fluff ...
NOV 06, 2022
Space & Astronomy
New Evidence Suggests Ancient Northern Ocean on Red Planet
New Evidence Suggests Ancient Northern Ocean on Red Planet
In a recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, a pair of researchers examined topographic ...
DEC 07, 2022
Space & Astronomy
What is a pulsar?
What is a pulsar?
We’ve all seen lighthouses on Earth, a spinning light atop a tower that is meant to keep ships from coming to clos ...
DEC 20, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Have Found the Best Evidence of "Water Worlds" To Date
Astronomers Have Found the Best Evidence of "Water Worlds" To Date
A recent paper published in Nature Astronomy presents a detailed study of the planetary system Kepler-138 and has found ...
DEC 22, 2022
Space & Astronomy
JWST's First Look at the TRAPPIST-1 System
JWST's First Look at the TRAPPIST-1 System
Last week, astronomers gathered at the Space Telescope Science Institute, the operations center for the James Webb Space ...
Loading Comments...