Due to Ingenuity’s photos, Perseverance is aware of the place it is going subsequent
The Perseverance rover now has a new tool to help scientists and engineers figure out where the rover is going next. The new tool is the small rotary wing that was hidden in the belly of the rover, the Ingenuity helicopter. Ingenuity has now started doing aerial photography to look for perseverance.
During its most recent flight, Ingenuity captured 10 color images of the region that Perseverance is traversing to help the team figure out if the rover should stay in its current location and conduct further scientific studies or examine potentially interesting rocks nearby “South -Seítah “area.
“From a scientific perspective, these images of South Seítah are the most valuable that Ingenuity has ever captured,” said Ken Farley, project scientist for NASA’s Perseverance rover. “And part of their worth may be in what they don’t show. Layers of sediment in rocks are not easily recognizable in the image, and there may be areas that are difficult to navigate with the rover. Our science and rover driving teams still have to work to better understand how to respond to the new data. “
Image from the 12th flight of Ingenuity on Mars. Photo credit: NASA / JPL.
Ingenuity took the images from a height of 10 meters. The team said the flight – the helicopter’s 12th so far – was one of the most complicated the helicopter team has ever made. It was also the longest flight so far (169.5 seconds) with multiple waypoints, as it flew from relatively inconspicuous terrain outside of South Seitah to much more varied terrain inside and then back again.
Perseverance itself has taken over 125,000 images in the six months since landing on Mars. The images are incredible and not only are they breathtaking images from another world, they also allow scientists to make observations of the rocks and the Mars regolith. And the images are also important from a technical point of view as they help the “rover drivers” determine the best way forward based on what they see in the images.
In addition, the power of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is available to the Perseverance team. MRO carries the most powerful camera ever sent to the Red Planet, and its images can show details up to 1 meter (3 feet) in diameter and create precise 3D maps of the surface. Combined with a complementary camera that provides a broader context of the surface, MRO examines the surface in great detail to identify geological processes that may be of interest for the rover to study more closely.
This annotated image shows the ground track (marked in white) of NASA’s Perseverance rover since its arrival on Mars on February 18, 2021. Fri ”), right of the center in the lower third of the image. The “Citadel” is in the lower third of the graphic, just to the left of the center. The artwork was created using the terrain captured by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Photo credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona
Before Ingenuity’s last flight, most of what the Perseverance science team knew about the southern portion of the Seitah feature came from MRO. Based on this data, the team believed the site could potentially be a treasure trove of complex geology, providing information that could play a valuable role as the rover team searches for signs of ancient microbial life and tries to understand the geology of the area and understand the history of the area.
But Ingenuity has now provided additional data showing signs of stratified sedimentary rocks that may have deposited in the water, fascinating rocky outcrops accessible to the rover, and safe routes the rover could enter and exit the area.
“That picture could say we don’t have to go further west to get the best geological diversity from this first scientific campaign,” Farley said. “If we decide to go to South Seítah, we will have valuable information about what will come our way. And when it comes to staying close to ‘Artuby Ridge’, the rover’s current location, we’ve saved valuable time. It’s a win-win situation. “
We will provide more updates on the next Ingenuity flights and where Perseverance is going next.
Cover caption: Flight 12 view of South Seitah: This image of the “South Séítah” region of the Jezero crater was taken by NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter during its 12th flight on Mars on August 16, 2021 and was used by the Perseverance rover’s science team when planning its scientific investigations proved useful. Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech.