NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Spots Ingenuity Helicopter at Its Final Resting Place

Perseverance Spots Ingenuity at Its Final Airfield Crop

Perseverance Spots Ingenuity at Its Final Airfield: NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover captured this mosaic showing the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at its final airfield on February 4, 2024. The helicopter damaged its rotor blades during landing on its 72nd flight on January 18, 2024. The Ingenuity team has nicknamed the spot where the helicopter completed its final flight “Valinor Hills” after the fictional location in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels, which include “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

Ingenuity’s groundbreaking mission concludes after 72 flights, while Perseverance’s exploration of Mars enters an exciting phase, focusing on geological discoveries that could shed light on the planet’s ancient history.

After 72 flights and 17 kilometers flown, it is finally time for us to say goodbye to the Ingenuity helicopter. It was announced last month that Ingenuity’s mission is now coming to an end after it sustained damage to a rotor blade on its final flight.

Ingenuity’s long and remarkably successful journey began three years ago on the floor of Jezero Crater and it will end in Neretva Vallis, a channel that once brought water into an ancient lake. Ingenuity became the first craft to achieve controlled and powered flight on another planet, giving the science team access to landscapes inaccessible to any rover.

This week Perseverance drove within ~450 meters of the helicopter, which is likely the closest we will be to our flying companion for the remainder of our mission. We took this opportunity to acquire long-distance imagery of Ingenuity with our Mastcam-Z instrument.

Mars Perseverance Sol 1048

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using the SuperCam Remote Micro-Imager, located at the top of the rover’s mast. This image was acquired on January 31, 2024 (Sol 1048) at the local mean solar time of 11:31:25. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP

While Ingenuity’s mission has reached its conclusion, Perseverance is approaching one of the most exciting parts of its mission so far. Perseverance is continuing to explore the margin unit, an area on the edge of Jezero Crater with strong signatures of carbonate minerals from orbit.

Our team made the most of this latest stretch of terrain, taking SuperCam LIBS and VISIR observations of a pitted rock named Porkchop Geyser (see image above) and capturing Mastcam-Z images of a rubbly outcrop called Muiron Island (see image below). As the rover makes its way west, we are diligently preparing for what lies ahead.

In orbital imagery of the crater rim we can see huge blocks – so-called ‘megabreccia’ – which are hypothesized to originate from the impact that created Jezero Crater or represent even older rocks ejected from the massive Isidis Basin to our east.

Mars Perseverance Sol 1045

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its Right Mastcam-Z camera. Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover’s mast. This image was acquired on January 28, 2024 (Sol 1045) at the local mean solar time of 10:49:21. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

While it is sad to be leaving Ingenuity behind, the future is bright for Perseverance and the science team is in high spirits. Ahead of us lies the mysterious crater rim, which may offer a window into a period of Mars’ history that no rover has ever seen before.

Written by Henry Manelski, PhD Student at Purdue University and Nathan Williams, Science Systems Engineer at JPL

22 Comments on "NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Spots Ingenuity Helicopter at Its Final Resting Place"

  1. Thank you Henry. Great work and very interesting.

    (Please ignore the other illiterate ignoramus.)

  2. How can there be a helicopter on Mars when Mars has no air

  3. You know, helicopters can’t even acquire adequate elevation to rescue climbers attempting Everest after passing the 3rd camping site before ascending to the summit because of thin air. Mars has no air or atmosphere to even discuss the density of it’s non-existent atmosphere which is needed for inertia to give lift.

  4. It is sad to see so many conspiracy-minded people thinking they know things that are just incorrect, like “Mars has no air.” It does, of course, have a significant atmosphere and Ingenuity’s rotor spins several times faster than a helicopter would on Earth, generating plenty of lift. It’s amazing that the anti-science simpletons think they have thought more about this than the scientists, who are actually light-years ahead of them.

  5. @TEKNO. Because we are not on any place called Mars. THATS WHY. LMBO. USE the brain God gave you and not the programming the governments of the world and the media have manipulated your mind with

  6. Hey Rob. You know dam well we cant control a rover and helicopter Millions of miles through fake space through all the supposed chaos. Anyone with a lick of common sense would know this. The masses no longer possess this unfortunately. Get a life Rob. SOME OF US ARE AWAKE TO THE CLOWN SHOW

  7. Torbjörn Larsson | February 10, 2024 at 5:44 am | Reply

    Rest in pieces.

    I hope they can figure out which species of martian bird it collided with, or whatever happened. 🦅

    “Ingenuity became the first craft to achieve controlled and powered flight on another planet”.

    That honor goes to Eagle 1969, or if you want to have an astronomical planet the first use of Sky crane on Mars 2012.

    This would be the first aerodynamic powered flight craft.

  8. Martian bird? I Know you are not being serious? Right?

  9. I’m a ham radio operator and I bounce signals off the moon all of the time and I don’t have high dollar equipment… yes mars much farther but with microwave signals and gigantic dishes on earth it can easily be done.

  10. Torbjörn Larsson | February 10, 2024 at 5:58 am | Reply

    Conspiracy theorists are boring, they never give any support for their speculations. Specifically here since modeling shows that mass conspiracies involving up to ~4,000 people can last at most a year before a leak. The space industry has been around for 70 years and now involves more than 2 million people in US alone.

    But specifically then:

    1. As everybody knows or can look up Mars has a significant enough CO2 atmosphere with a surface pressure about 1 % of Earth surface pressure. It was thought that the light weight, high rotational speed Ingenuity helicopter would work and it did. Now larger versions are planned, which it wouldn’t be if martian helicopters didn’t work.

    2. There isn’t any “supposed chaos” in space.

    3. Superstitions are silly, especially magic superstitions. Specifically since Planck 2016, with repeats 2018 and from other surveys, showed that the whole universe is robustly and beyond reasonable doubt created by an entirely natural process of space expansion, we know for a fact that magical ‘gods’ don’t exist.

    • Torbjörn Larsson | February 10, 2024 at 6:05 am | Reply

      Oh, I forgot:

      First author at JPL’s press office is, according to his LinkedIn profile, a PhD Student and a Mars 2020 Science Team Collaborator. Attacking the messenger is always ignoble, but attacking a student and a student of science is especially shameful and potentially harmful above and beyond the harm that conspiracy theory and magical thinking may do.

  11. I think it would be proper for Perseverance to retrieve the broken helicopter and use its arm to pick it up and somehow secure his little buddy to itself so that one day our future Mars travelers can retrieve it!

  12. @LARSSON
    Brainwashed people who think space is real are even more boring. Especially ones who think birds are live on Mars. Lmbo

  13. @COMM EXPERT. You are not bouncing anything off the light in the sky called the Moon. Another liar.

  14. Why do some people find it so ludicrous that this actually can and does happen. I’ll take science over God any day of the week.
    Conspiracy theorists are so unhappy with the truth they just cannot help putting science down. I bet these CT nuts also think god exists and moses,noah and jesus were real.

    • OH.YEA. WE LOST THE TECHNOLOGY TO GO BACK TO THE LIGHT IN THE SKY CALLED THE MOON. AND IT WOULD BE A REAL HEADACHE TO GET IT BACK. DON PETITE SAID THAT. BUT WE CAN SUPPOSEDLY SEND A SPACE CRAFT MILLIONS OF MILES FURTHER. ITS UMLOADS A HELOCOPTER and rover by itself and they are controlled by millions of miles away by a super signal. Lmbo. And you expect rational minds to buy that bulls***. And on top of that we get buls*** pictures of Rocks. Lol.

  15. You may know much about science, but your ignorance of history is appalling. Atheist historians overwhelmingly accept that Jesus of Nazareth was a historical person. Please consult Bart Erhman’s books on the subject.

    But of course, that has nothing to do with our exploration of Mars. The conspiracy theorists posting above are more likely *pretenders* trying to make religious people look stupid.

  16. Mars is now a history. We must talk about and explore the Dark Matter, which is over 95% of everything existing anywhere.

  17. I just thought only 10+ miles was not very far travel for 72 flights. I suppose the atmosphere was the reason.

  18. There is no God as such. Evolution proves that. There was a Big Bang earth was created and we evolved from crawling out of the sea. Game over!

  19. @phil C. Yea you came from an Ape and your ape brother is still climbing in trees for some reason. You folks claim to have a rational mind and believe that we evolved from monkeys. But yet they are Still here. Lmbo.YET THEY CANNOT MATE WITH HUMANS. A FOOL BELIEVES IN HIS OWN HEART THAT THERE IS NOT A GOD.

  20. Universal Thought | February 13, 2024 at 4:33 pm | Reply

    Ever since the history of man has been written the only real truth is evidence based there is no such thing as supernatural.

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