This annotated picture of Jezero Crater illustrates the paths for Perseverances very first science campaign (yellow inbounds marker) as well as its 2nd (light-yellow hash marks). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
The color images from Ingenuity, drawn from a height of around 33 feet (10 meters), use the rover team much higher detail than they receive from the orbiter images (such as the one above) they generally utilize for route preparation. While a video camera like HiRISE (the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) aboard NASAs Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter can resolve rocks about 3 feet (1 meter) in diameter, objectives usually rely on rover images to see smaller sized rocks or terrain features.
” Once a rover gets close adequate to a location, we get ground-scale images that we can compare to orbital images,” stated Perseverance Deputy Project Scientist Ken Williford of NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “With Ingenuity, we now have this intermediate-scale images that nicely fills the gap in resolution.”
Below are a few of Ingenuitys images, which completed the long journey back to Earth on July 8.
Ingenuity (its shadow is noticeable at the bottom of this image) used a high-resolution glance of rock features nicknamed “Raised Ridges.” They belong to a fracture system, which often act as paths for fluid to flow underground.
NASAs Ingenuity Mars Helicopter spotted this area, nicknamed “Raised Ridges,” throughout its ninth flight, on July 5. Scientists want to go to “Raised Ridges” with the Perseverance rover in the future. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Here in Jezero Crater, a lake existed billions of years earlier. Spying the ridges in images from Mars orbiters, researchers have wondered whether water may have flowed through these fractures at some time, dissolving minerals that could help feed ancient microbial colonies. That would make them a prime area to try to find signs of ancient life– and maybe to drill a sample.
The samples Perseverance takes will ultimately be deposited on Mars for a future objective that would take them to Earth for extensive analysis.
” Our existing strategy is to check out Raised Ridges and examine it close up,” Williford said. “The helicopters images are without a doubt better in resolution than the orbital ones we were using. Studying these will permit us to make sure that visiting these ridges is necessary to the team.”
Sand dunes like the ones in this image keep rover motorists like JPLs Olivier Toupet awake during the night: Knee- or waist-high, they could quickly trigger the two-ton rover to get stuck. After landing in February, Perseverance scientists asked whether it was possible to make a beeline across this surface; Toupets answer was a difficult no.
NASAs Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flew over this dune field in an area of Jezero Crater nicknamed “Séítah” throughout its ninth flight, on July 5, 2021. A portion of the helicopters landing gear can be seen at top left. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
” Sand is a huge issue,” stated Toupet, who leads the group of mobility professionals that plans Perseverances drives. “If we drive downhill into a dune, we might embed ourselves into it and not be able to get back out.”
Toupet is also the lead for Perseverances recently checked AutoNav feature, which uses expert system algorithms to drive the rover autonomously over higher distances than might be attained otherwise. While great at avoiding rocks and other threats, AutoNav cant detect sand, so human chauffeurs still require to define “keep-out zones” around locations that might allure the rover.
Without Ingenuity, visible in silhouette at the bottom of this next image, Perseverances researchers would never get to see this area of Séítah so clearly: Its too sandy for Perseverance to check out. The special view uses enough information to examine these rocks and get a better understanding of this area of Jezero Crater.
NASAs Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flew over these dune and rocks throughout its ninth flight, on July 5, 2021. While the agencys Perseverance Mars cant risk getting stuck in this sand, researchers are still able to discover this area by studying it from Ingenuitys images. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
As the rover works its method around the dune field, it may make what the group calls a “toe dip” into some scientifically engaging areas with intriguing bedrock. While Toupet and his group wouldnt attempt a toe dip here, the current images from Ingenuity will allow them to plan possible toe-dip courses in other areas along the path of Perseverances very first science campaign.
” The helicopter is an extremely valuable asset for rover planning since it provides high-resolution imagery of the surface we want to drive through,” said Toupet. “We can much better assess the size of the dunes and where bedrock is poking out. Thats great details for us; it assists determine which locations might be traversable by the rover and whether particular high-value science targets are obtainable.”
More About the Mission
A crucial goal for Perseverances objective on Mars is astrobiology, consisting of the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will identify the planets geology and previous environment, lead the way for human expedition of the Red Planet, and be the first objective to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (damaged rock and dust).
Subsequent NASA objectives, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send out spacecraft to Mars to gather these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for thorough analysis.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission belongs to NASAs Moon to Mars expedition approach, that includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help get ready for human exploration of the Red Planet.
JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.
The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was developed by JPL, which also handles the technology demonstration task for NASA Headquarters. NASAs Ames Research Center in Californias Silicon Valley, and NASAs Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, provided significant flight performance analysis and technical assistance during Ingenuitys development.
JPL manages the MRO objective for NASAs Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The University of Arizona, in Tucson, runs HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & & Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colorado.
NASAs Ingenuity Mars Helicopter caught this image of tracks made by the Perseverance rover throughout its ninth flight, on July 5. The flight also revealed barriers the rover may have to drive around as it checks out Jezero Crater.
Researchers hope to check out “Raised Ridges” with the Perseverance rover in the future. While the firms Perseverance Mars cant risk getting stuck in this sand, researchers are still able to find out about this area by studying it from Ingenuitys images.” The helicopter is an exceptionally valuable possession for rover preparation since it offers high-resolution imagery of the terrain we desire to drive through,” stated Toupet.
NASAs Ingenuity Mars Helicopter caught this picture of tracks made by the Perseverance rover during its ninth flight, on July 5. A portion of the helicopters landing equipment can be seen at leading left. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Resourcefulnesss ninth flight supplied imagery that will help the Perseverance rover team develop its science plan moving forward.
Images snapped on July 5 by NASAs Ingenuity Mars Helicopter on its ambitious ninth flight have actually offered researchers and engineers dealing with the agencys Perseverance Mars rover an unprecedented chance to search out the road ahead. Resourcefulness supplied brand-new insight into where various rock layers end and start, each layer functioning as a time pill for how conditions in the ancient climate changed at this place. The flight also exposed obstacles the rover may have to drive around as it explores Jezero Crater.
Throughout the flight– created to evaluate the helicopters capability to act as an aerial scout — Ingenuity soared over a dune field nicknamed “Séítah.” Determination is making a detour south around those dunes, which would be too dangerous for the six-wheeled rover to attempt crossing.