NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter Flies at a Lower Altitude Than Ever Before – Captures a Mars Rock Feature in 3D

This 3D view of a rock mound called “Faillefeu” was created from data collected by NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter during its 13th flight at Mars on September 4, 2021. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The rotorcraft captures nuances of rocky outcrop during aerial reconnaissance.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter provided a 3D view of a rock-covered mound during its 13th flight on September 4. The plan for this reconnaissance mission into the “South Seítah” region of Mars’ Jezero Crater was to capture images of this geologic target – nicknamed “Faillefeu” (after a medieval abbey in the French Alps) by the agency’s Perseverance rover team – and to obtain the color pictures from a lower altitude than ever before: 26 feet (8 meters).

This image of an area the Mars Perseverance rover team calls “Faillefeu” was captured by NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter during its 13th flight at Mars on September 4, 2021. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

About 33 feet (10 meters) wide, the mound is visible just north of the center of the image, with some large rocks casting shadows. Stretching across the top of the image is a portion of “Artuby,” a ridgeline more than half a mile (900 meters) wide. At the bottom of the image, and running vertically up into the middle, are a few of the many sand ripples that populate South Seítah.

Best viewed with red-blue glasses, this stereo, or 3D, view (also called an anaglyph) was created by combining data from two images taken 16 feet (5 meters) apart by the color camera aboard Ingenuity.

More About Ingenuity

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was built by JPL, which also manages the operations demonstration activity during its extended mission for NASA Headquarters. It is supported by NASA’s Science, Aeronautics Research, and Space Technology mission directorates. NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, and NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, provided significant flight performance analysis and technical assistance during Ingenuity’s development. AeroVironment Inc., Qualcomm, and SolAero also provided design assistance and major vehicle components. Lockheed Martin Space designed and manufactured the Mars Helicopter Delivery System.

More About Perseverance

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith.

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA, would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare 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.

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Comments ( 16 )
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  • gordo53

    Our machines continue to get more capable. Sending humans to Mars seems to be needlessly risky and pointless. We are not about to colonize a cold, dry, lifeless planet.
    The rock formations look very much like sedimentary formations on Earth.

  • Lowry A Pierce

    Is it just me…or is anyone else getting bored with these Mars rocks and sand pictures? American deserts have rocks and sand too. A whole lot cheaper to go see too.

    • William Adama

      It’s just you.
      This is another world that we are looking at. That’s what makes this so fascinating.

  • Joyce L Stillman

    The “in the beginning” story is appearing more and more infantile.

  • Dave

    Cheeze burger

  • Lou

    We are learning so much by directly observing this nearby other world cut short in its development and yet otherwise so much like Earth. I can’t wait to read the story of how the conditions for life may have evolved and of how they may have been ultimately thwarted. We have made so many mistakes on our own planet but perhaps we can learn from this pristine billions of years old experiment revealing what not to do.

  • Jim

    Hello there. What color would the sky be on Mars?

  • Jim

    The upper right corner of the shot you can see blue sky.

  • PresidentBush43

    Damn these people are disappointing. We are looking at another word. A world we should conquer. We will never make it as a human race if we stay on this rock. Sitting ducks in a space of shooting astroids gallery.

  • Christopher Farley

    On the right side towards the top of picture does any one else see what I see? Is that an alien’s 💀 in the dirt sure looks like it!

  • Dizzee

    Gotta agree with Gordon, what’s the point of sending humans to Mars? I mean what they going to do when they get there? They are going to do the same thing as machines that are already there.
    Add to that the industrial scale ice mining to provide oxygen and water… just to say ‘we did it’s, but we already know we can/could.

    • Dumb autocorrect

      gordo*

  • Rick

    NASA is a 57 million dollar daily money laundering operation… It is not-repeat, NOT-a “space agency”.”space” DOES NOT EXIST. Earth is a flat, dome covered, possibly infinite plane, and is at the center of all existence. EVERYTHING you have been told about space is a lie, fabrication and deception.

    • Robin G. Zinke

      Are you really that ignorant… If the Earth was flat we’d all have day and night at the same time that don’t happen now does it. Space doesn’t exist where the comments and asteroids come from. And you have no scientific proof of anything you say.

  • bodycode

    Money poorly spent, that is, if the billions of USD were poured into food scarcity, water purification and poverty, the planet would be better off. Though space tech has improved our lives here on earth with life saving medical technologies, it’s not enough! We need to put people first, in a more direct way, not from lofty rocket program but in just some of the things I mentioned her.

  • Robin G. Zinke

    These other beings on other planets or aliens or extraterrestrials are on Mars messing with NASA’s machines. And probably laughing their asses off…