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Throughout its one-year anniversary flight on April 19, the little chopper took pictures of the striped parachute used throughout Perseverance’s touchdown — also known as “7 minutes of terror” as a result of it occurs quicker than radio indicators can attain Earth from Mars — on February 18, 2021. It additionally noticed the cone-shaped backshell that helped shield the rover and Ingenuity on the journey from Earth to Mars and through its fiery, plunging descent to the Martian floor.

The engineers engaged on the Mars Pattern Return program, an bold and multimission course of to return Martian samples collected by Perseverance to Earth by the 2030s, requested if Ingenuity may collect these photographs throughout its twenty sixth flight.

Learning the elements that allowed for a protected touchdown may help them put together for future missions to the crimson planet that can require touchdown and even launching from the Martian floor for the primary time.

“NASA prolonged Ingenuity flight operations to carry out pioneering flights equivalent to this,” mentioned Teddy Tzanetos, Ingenuity’s workforce lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in an announcement.

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“Each time we’re airborne, Ingenuity covers new floor and provides a perspective no earlier planetary mission may obtain. Mars Pattern Return’s reconnaissance request is an ideal instance of the utility of aerial platforms on Mars.”

Throughout entry, descent and touchdown, the spacecraft faces scorching temperatures and gravitational forces because it plunges into the Martian environment at nearly 12,500 miles per hour (20,000 kilometers per hour).

Beforehand, we have solely seen photographs of the discarded touchdown gear from a rover’s perspective, like a picture taken by Perseverance displaying the parachute and backshell from a distance. Aerial photographs, captured for the primary time by Ingenuity from 26 toes (8 meters) within the air, present extra element.

“Perseverance had the best-documented Mars touchdown in historical past, with cameras displaying every little thing from parachute inflation to landing,” mentioned Ian Clark, former Perseverance methods engineer and present Mars Pattern Return ascent part lead at JPL, in an announcement.

“However Ingenuity’s photographs supply a special vantage level. In the event that they both reinforce that our methods labored as we predict they labored or present even one dataset of engineering info we will use for Mars Pattern Return planning, it is going to be wonderful. And if not, the images are nonetheless phenomenal and provoking.”

The backshell and its debris field can be seen from Ingenuity's position above the landing site.

The backshell could be seen amongst a particles area it created after hitting the Martian floor whereas transferring at about 78 miles per hour (126 kilometers per hour). However the backshell’s protecting coating seems to be intact, as are the 80 suspension traces connecting it to the parachute.

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The orange and white parachute could be seen, coated in mud, however the cover would not present any injury. It was the largest parachute used on Mars up to now, at 70.5 toes (21.5 meters) large. The workforce will proceed to investigate the pictures to find out if the parachute skilled any adjustments over the following a number of weeks.

Throughout Ingenuity’s twenty sixth aerial tour, the chopper flew a complete of 1,181 toes (360 meters). Thus far, it has logged 49 minutes of whole flight time and traveled 3.9 miles (6.3 kilometers) over the previous yr.

“To get the pictures we would have liked, Ingenuity did a whole lot of maneuvering, however we had been assured as a result of there was difficult maneuvering on flights 10, 12, and 13,” mentioned Håvard Grip, chief pilot of Ingenuity at JPL, in an announcement. “Our touchdown spot set us up properly to picture an space of curiosity for the Perseverance science workforce on Flight 27, close to ‘Séítah’ ridge.”

Perseverance captured this photo of the rover's parachute in the distance on April 6.

The helicopter and rover have arrived at an historical river delta the place water as soon as flowed into Jezero Crater hundreds of thousands of years in the past.

The imposing delta rises greater than 130 toes (40 meters) above the crater flooring and is riddled with boulders, pockets of sand and jagged cliffs — and it could possibly be the perfect place to seek for indicators of historical life if it ever existed on Mars.

Ingenuity has the essential process of surveying two dry river channels to see which one Perseverance ought to use to climb to the highest of the delta. It may possibly additionally share photographs of options that might turn out to be potential science targets for the rover.

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