Look closely. Nope, even closer.
Can you spot a lonely robot in the windswept Martian desert?
While in mid-air during its third historic flight on Mars, the 19-inch-tall Ingenuity helicopter snapped an image of the rocky Martian terrain below. If you look in the far upper left of the photo (taken on April 25), you can see the six-wheeled Perseverance rover in the distance.
That rover will soon start rumbling towards a dried-up river delta in the Jezero Crater, in search of potential signs of past microbial life. A high-tech camera looming atop the rover, like a crow’s nest on a ship, will zap rocks with a powerful laser to identify the most interesting places to investigate.
On Ingenuity’s third flight, its most ambitious yet, the chopper flew 16 feet up into the air, before then traveling 164 feet (over half the length of a football field). The test flight helped prove the possibility of powered flights on extraterrestrial worlds.
See Also: The Martian sounds recorded by the Perseverance rover, so far
Flying on Mars is hard. Ingenuity, an experimental craft, overcame a profoundly thin atmosphere (making it challenging to achieve lift), temperatures that plunge to some -130 degrees Fahrenheit, and the necessity of flying on its own, without NASA engineers directly at the controls.
Yet, the little chopper succeeded, three times now. Dave Lavery, Ingenuity’s program executive at NASA, called the latest flight “nothing short of amazing.”