NASA Mars Helicopter Detects ‘Otherworldly’ Debris on Red Planet’s Surface: ‘Phenomenal’ | Science | News

In what looks like a scene from a science fiction movie, NASA’s Ingenuity captured images of the Perseverance rover’s landing team on the surface of Mars. The Perseverance is a large Mars Rover designed to explore the Red Planet as part of NASA’s 2020 mission to Mars. The US space agency’s Ingenuity helicopter, which actually traveled with the rover, captured color images of the landing gear left behind after its arrival in February 2021.

The images show a parachute and the conical rear shell that protected the car-sized Rover during its descent toward the Red Planet.

Dubbed the “Helicopter from Mars,” Ingenuity is the first demonstration of controlled flight on another world.

NASA originally intended the “Marscopter” to make five flights, but a year and 26 flights later, the drone captured these images on the first anniversary of its first flight.

Speaking to the New York Times, Ian Clark, an engineer who worked on Perseverance’s parachute system, seemed enthralled by the photographs, saying: “There’s definitely a sci-fi element to it.

“It exudes something otherworldly, doesn’t it?

“They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s also worth an infinite amount of engineering knowledge.”

The outer shell, visible in the image, protected the Perseverance Rover both in space and during its ferocious descent, as the rover had to withstand gravitational forces, high temperatures and other extremes seen when entering Mars’ atmosphere at almost 20,000 kilometers. per hour.

Teddy Tzanetos, Ingenuity team leader at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, said, “NASA extended Ingenuity’s flight operations to perform pioneering flights like this one.

READ MORE: NASA detects the first seismic activity on the other side of Mars

“Every time we’re in the air, Ingenuity covers new ground and offers a perspective that no previous planetary mission could achieve.

“The Mars Sample Return reconnaissance request is a perfect example of the usefulness of aerial platforms on Mars.”

According to a NASA statement, the photographs they obtained could 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 Perseverance samples of Martian rocks, atmosphere and sediment from return to Earth for detailed analysis.

Mr Clark, who is now the ascent phase lead for Mars Sample Return, added: “Perseverance had the best-documented Mars landing in history, with cameras showing everything from parachute inflation to landing.

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