NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Spots Ingenuity Helicopter at Its Final Resting Place

Perseverance Spots Ingenuity at Its Final Airfield Crop

Perseverance Spots Ingenuity at Its Remaining Airfield: NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover captured this mosaic exhibiting the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at its remaining airfield on February 4, 2024. The helicopter broken its rotor blades throughout touchdown on its 72nd flight on January 18, 2024. The Ingenuity workforce has nicknamed the spot the place the helicopter accomplished its remaining flight “Valinor Hills” after the fictional location in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels, which embody “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

Ingenuity’s groundbreaking mission concludes after 72 flights, whereas Perseverance’s exploration of Mars enters an thrilling section, specializing in geological discoveries that might make clear the planet’s historical historical past.

After 72 flights and 17 kilometers flown, it’s lastly time for us to say goodbye to the Ingenuity helicopter. It was introduced final month that Ingenuity’s mission is now coming to an finish after it sustained harm to a rotor blade on its remaining flight.

Ingenuity’s lengthy and remarkably profitable journey started three years in the past on the ground of Jezero Crater and it’ll finish in Neretva Vallis, a channel that after introduced water into an historical lake. Ingenuity grew to become the primary craft to attain managed and powered flight on one other planet, giving the science workforce entry to landscapes inaccessible to any rover.

This week Perseverance drove inside ~450 meters of the helicopter, which is probably going the closest we might be to our flying companion for the rest of our mission. We took this chance to accumulate long-distance imagery of Ingenuity with our Mastcam-Z instrument.

Mars Perseverance Sol 1048

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this picture utilizing the SuperCam Distant Micro-Imager, positioned on the prime of the rover’s mast. This picture was acquired on January 31, 2024 (Sol 1048) on the native imply photo voltaic time of 11:31:25. Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP

Whereas Ingenuity’s mission has reached its conclusion, Perseverance is approaching some of the thrilling elements of its mission up to now. Perseverance is constant to discover the margin unit, an space on the sting of Jezero Crater with robust signatures of carbonate minerals from orbit.

Our workforce made probably the most of this newest stretch of terrain, taking SuperCam LIBS and VISIR observations of a pitted rock named Porkchop Geyser (see picture above) and capturing Mastcam-Z photos of a rubbly outcrop referred to as Muiron Island (see picture under). Because the rover makes its approach west, we’re diligently making ready for what lies forward.

In orbital imagery of the crater rim we will see enormous blocks – so-called ‘megabreccia’ – that are hypothesized to originate from the influence that created Jezero Crater or symbolize even older rocks ejected from the large Isidis Basin to our east.

Mars Perseverance Sol 1045

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this picture utilizing its Proper Mastcam-Z digicam. Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras positioned excessive on the rover’s mast. This picture was acquired on January 28, 2024 (Sol 1045) on the native imply photo voltaic time of 10:49:21. Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

Whereas it’s unhappy to be leaving Ingenuity behind, the longer term is vivid for Perseverance and the science workforce is in excessive spirits. Forward of us lies the mysterious crater rim, which can supply a window right into a interval of Mars’ historical past that no rover has ever seen earlier than.

Written by Henry Manelski, PhD Scholar at Purdue College and Nathan Williams, Science Programs Engineer at JPL

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