NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter can be seen here taking off, hovering and then landing on the Martian surface on April 19, 2021. The Mastcam-Z imager aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover shot video of the helicopter’s flight. The video is presented here in side-by-side formats that have both been enhanced to show a dust plume swirling during takeoff and again on landing.
The view on the left uses motion filtering to show where dust was detected during liftoff and landing and the view on the right is enhanced with the motion filtering. Scientists use this image processing to detect dust devils as they pass by Mars rovers. An additional version of the video includes a timer that counts down until liftoff and then counts up until landing.
A ghostly “cut-out” of the helicopter is visible in each side-by-side format; that’s an artifact related to the digital processing.
The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was built by JPL, which also manages this technology demonstration project for NASA Headquarters. It is supported by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, and Space Technology Mission Directorate. NASA’s Ames Research Center and Langley Research Center provided significant flight performance analysis and technical assistance during Ingenuity’s development.
Arizona State University in Tempe leads the operations of the Mastcam-Z instrument, working in collaboration with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego.