Ingenuity, NASA’s helicopter on Mars took this impossible photo

SPACE – A spectacular aerial view. On April 19, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter on Mars captured unique images of the parachute and cone protecting the Perseverance rover upon its arrival on the Red Planet in February 2021.

Unveiled by NASA this Thursday, April 28, these ten -color images of landing debris in the Jezero crater are remarkably clear. This is yet another technical accomplishment for the Ingenuity helicopter, which recently celebrated its one-year mission to Mars. “Every time we get in the air, Ingenuity covers new ground and gives an understanding that no previous planetary mission has been accomplished (…),” said Teddy Tzanetos, Ingenuity Team Leader at Jet Propulsion. NASA Laboratory, in a statement.

“The most documented Mars landing in history”

The mission of this miniature helicopter, which left with Perseverance on February 18, was initially supposed to last 31 days and be limited to five test flights. Ingenuity is already in its 26th flight and has increased its exploits. These latest photos of the Perseverance landing will allow scientists to prepare for future Martian missions.

In fact, this is not an imaginary observation. Ingenuity served as a scout for the Perseverance mission. This joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency aims to bring the materials collected by the rover back to Earth, possibly as early as 2033.

“Perseverance has the best documented landing on Mars in history,” said Ian Clark, the former Perseverance system engineer. “But Ingenuity’s images offer a different perspective. If they confirm that our systems are working, or even if they provide a set of technical information that we can use to plan the return of samples to Mars, that’s fantastic. And if not, the images are unique and inspiring.

New missions for Ingenuity

Preliminary analysis of new photos from Ingenuity suggests that the landing is very good for Endurance despite the rover’s pressure. The descent to the red planet was made in the extreme conditions associated with the entry of the atmosphere on Mars at about 20,000 kilometers per hour. Despite this, Perseverance’s parachute and protective shell remain in good condition.

You can’t see it in the photos, but “the protective cover on the back shell seems to have remained absent during the entry into the Martian atmosphere. Many of the 80 lines (cables connecting the canopy to a parachute, editor’s note) can be seen and also seen to be irrelevant, “NASA scientists explained.

Ingenuity will continue to take pictures, and its missions will expand further. The helicopter will help Perseverance find the remains of a delta that existed on the land of Jezero billions of years ago. This area may have signs of ancient life on the red planet.

The (very important) task of Ingenuity is to determine the best route to reach the end of the delta. “We can even use the helicopter’s ingenuity to take pictures of geological features that are too far away for the rover to reach”, think Martian mission managers. Wisdom does not end up surprising us.

See also The HuffPost: The Last Flight of the Ingenuity Helicopter Will Be Very Stressful For NASA

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