In a special moment, NASA rover on Mars snaps Ingenuity Mars Helicopter in flight

NASA has captured astounding footage of its Mars helicopter, defying thin Martian air, as it completed its 54th flight successfully.

| Updated on: Aug 21 2023, 09:17 IST
Earth, Mercury, Saturn to Mars, how far are these planets from the Sun? Find out
1/8 Mercury: As per NASA  Jet Propulsion Labrotray, Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun which has 4879 KM of diameter and is 57,900,000 KM away from the Sun. (Pixabay)
2/8 Venus: The planet has a diameter of 12,104 KM and its distance from the Sun is 108,200,000 KM. (Nasa)
3/8 Earth: Earth has a diameter of 12,756 KM and is 149,600,000 KM away from the Sun. (Pixabay)
4/8 Mars: Mars has a diameter of 6,792 KM and it is 227,900,000 KM away from the Sun. (NASA)
5/8 Jupiter: This Planet has a huge diameter of 142,984 KM and from the Sun it is 778,600,000 KM away. (NASA)
6/8 Saturn: Saturn has a diameter of 120,536 KM with a 1,433,500,000 KM distance from the Sun. (NASA/ESA/CSA/JWST/STScI)
7/8 Uranus: Uranus has a diameter of 51,118 KM with a 2,872,500,000 KM distance from the Sun. (NASA)
8/8 Neptune: Neptune is the farthest planet from the Sun as it is 4,495,100,000 KM away and its diameter is 49,528 KM.  (NASA)
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NASA's Ingenuity helicopter soars over the Martian surface in historic flight and landing. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS)

In a special moment, NASA rover on Mars has captured remarkable video footage of its helicopter flying and landing. The Martian atmosphere is very thin, just around one percent of Earth's, which makes it hard for things to lift off. However, NASA's experimental helicopter called Ingenuity was built to lift off using its special rotor in these unusual conditions. The small robot, with its four-foot wingspan, has managed to fly more than 50 times, even though NASA initially thought it would only be able to fly five times.

Perseverance's Watchful Eye

Recently, NASA's big Perseverance rover filmed the whole 54th flight of the helicopter in early August. There was a small issue during the flight that made the helicopter come back down quickly, but NASA used this flight to check if its control system still worked well. And it did.

Flight Sequence Captured in Detail

In the video, Ingenuity starts its rotors at the very bottom, around 5 seconds into the video. Then, at 15 seconds, the robot takes off and hovers about 16 feet above the Martian ground before gently landing again.

Searching for Clues of Ancient Life

Perseverance, the rover, took this clear video from a distance of 180 feet. Perseverance is exploring rocks and soil on Mars along with its friend Ingenuity, the helicopter. They are looking for signs of life, like special patterns or substances that might suggest living things were there in the past.

One big goal for Perseverance on Mars is to learn about astrobiology, which is all about finding signs of ancient tiny life forms. NASA explained that they are looking for things that could only have been made by living things. So far, there is no proof that life existed on Mars, but there might have been simple life forms in hidden caves or far beneath the ground. Scientists also think that there might be a chance for life to exist in places like the oceans of Enceladus and Europa, which are moons of other planets, even farther out in space than Mars.

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First Published Date: 21 Aug, 08:25 IST