This recent science foray by Ingenuity follows the helicopter spotting conducted to view the rear hull and parachute that helped the Perseverance rover land safely on Mars with Ingenuity strapped to its belly. These images have the potential to help ensure safer landings for future spacecraft such as the Mars Sample Return Lander, which is part of a multi-mission campaign that would bring samples of Martian rock, atmosphere and sediment back from Perseverance on Earth for a detailed analysis.
Learn more about ingenuity
The Ingenuity Mars helicopter was built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which also manages the project for NASA Headquarters. It is supported by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California and NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia provided extensive flight performance analysis and technical assistance during Ingenuity’s development. AeroVironment Inc., Qualcomm and SolAero also provided design assistance and major vehicle components. Lockheed Space designed and manufactured the Mars Helicopter Delivery System.
At NASA Headquarters, Dave Lavery is the program manager for the Ingenuity Mars helicopter.
Learn more about perseverance
A key objective of the Perseverance mission to Mars is astrobiology, including looking for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s past geology and climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).
Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with the ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for further analysis.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis Moon missions that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, Calif., built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.
For more information on Ingenuity: