Enhanced Video Shows Dust During NASA Ingenuity Helicopter’s Flight on Mars

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.

12 Comments on "Enhanced Video Shows Dust During NASA Ingenuity Helicopter’s Flight on Mars"

  1. The 10th Man | April 21, 2021 at 6:40 am | Reply

    Please stop posting this crap. You really have to stop. NASA needs to be exposed as a cash cow operation and cheer leading for those Nazi’s makes me want to puke. Just quit it, ok!

  2. This goes to show that there is a small atmosphere on mars. this type of lift could not be achieved in a vacuum. not sure what type of information we will get from it though? maybe low altitude imagery but its not really capable of taking samples or carrying anything. its also just another drone that will never return to earth. so what is the point and how does it advance our understanding and goals of landing a human on mars?

    • The flight demonstration is testing the technology. Although some Mars science data may be derived from it, the primary objective (as I understand it) was to show that an aerial vehicle could be packed up, shipped out, then deployed on another planet. Mars offers some extremes that make it useful even though the extremes on other worlds are not all the same. I don’t think this represents progress towards colonizing Mars, per se though.

  3. Armchair analyst | April 21, 2021 at 7:34 am | Reply

    What a great companion device! We now have a means to actively “sweep” the dust from the solar panels of our rover.

  4. Awesome video! It is inspiring to see the yearly progress towards eventual colonization of Mars! And fist colonies on the Moon as well – all very exciting indeed! Thanks for posting vids like this…it gives me hope in our future.

  5. [and how does it advance our understanding and goals…] – Horizontal lava tube shafts have been proposed as radiation shelter for future habitats. Overhead satellites cannot do as good a job looking for these as a drone chopper, for one example. Another might be scouting and doing close in cliff surveys, looking for water ice and other potential exploration path planning for it’s rover.

  6. Rico Violete | April 23, 2021 at 2:34 am | Reply

    They are flying an aircraft ,by remote control,in a completely different “atmosphere” ,on another planet!! It’s science fiction turned realty and is to be applauded !!! Simply amazing that some commenters want “more” from this achievement ! With funds that were allocated elsewhere NASA could have done this years ago ! Bravo ! Keep us posted on further use of this helicopter to map and observe this new world !

  7. Michael Chapin | April 24, 2021 at 12:41 pm | Reply

    What does it do for guys in combat???? Think think real hard.

  8. A lot of idiots on this comment thread holy f

  9. GHULAM MURTAZA | April 27, 2021 at 2:31 am | Reply

    Great work of scientists.

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