Cropped version of one of the most recent images from the Mars Helicopter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

10 New Images of NASA’s Martian Helicopter Show a Colorful Mars

See the beauty of Mars from the "eyes" of the first helicopter in space.

Nearly three months after its first flight, the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter continues to make history on Mars in its extended mission. What began as a test program has become a “tradition” that re-occurs once every two weeks – that is how often Ingenuity makes a new flight.

Had NASA’s experts known that the mission would be this successful, they might have considered adding scientific instruments to the helicopter. But even without these additions, the data collected from the nine flights to date will be crucial for the invention of more complex aircraft for future missions on Mars or perhaps even other planets and moons in the Solar System.

The initial mission plans involved four test flights over the course of a month, but once it became clear that Ingenuity is in perfect shape, NASA extended the program until September (for now).

With each new flight, the helicopter surpasses its previous records. For example, a little bit over a week ago, Ingenuity managed to fly over 625 meters in a single flight which is more than twice the distance it was initially expected to handle per attempt. Moreover, it now flies to new locations every time.

We also need to mention that Ingenuity received its first major software update in late June, eliminating an old issue that caused delays in April. The helicopter had problems with the watchdog timer, which prevented the aircraft from flying. This should not be an issue with the latest upgrade.

There is no denying that this mission exceeded the expectations of even the greatest optimists, but we must not forget that such an idea is being implemented for the first time in space. Just as Ingenuity shows no problems today, it may fail to take off tomorrow, and the mission will end. In any case, this will happen sooner or later.

Until then, we can enjoy NASA’s successes and the images we receive from the helicopter after almost every flight. Take a look at the best shots so far as you keep scrolling down this page.

Rover tracks from the Perseverance rover captured during the ninth flight of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Rover tracks from the Perseverance rover captured during the ninth flight of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
An image captured by the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter on April 25, 2021. On the left, you can see the Perseverance rover and and in the middle - its tracks on the surface. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
An image captured by the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter on April 25, 2021. On the left, you can see the Perseverance rover and and in the middle – its tracks on the surface. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

The entire panorama image snapped by Ingenuity. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The entire panorama image snapped by Ingenuity. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
One of the most recent images taken by the Ingenuity helicopter on July 5, 2021. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
One of the most recent images taken by the Ingenuity helicopter on July 5, 2021. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Another new image from the air on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Another new image from the air on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

An image of the Seitah geologic unit on Mars from 10 meters height. The photograph was taken during the sixth flight on May 22. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
An image of the Seitah geologic unit on Mars from 10 meters height. The photograph was taken during the sixth flight on May 22. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Isn't it incredible how much Mars resembles the deserts on Earth? Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Isn’t it incredible how much Mars resembles the deserts on Earth? Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Beautiful surface features on Mars captured during the most recent flight. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Beautiful surface features on Mars captured during the most recent flight. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Third color-image ever taken by the Mars Helicopter during its second flight. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Third color-image ever taken by the Mars Helicopter during its second flight. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Lovely rock formations on the surface of Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Lovely rock formations on the surface of Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Sources:

NASA. (n.d.). NASA’s Mars Helicopter Reveals Intriguing Terrain for Rover Team.
Spivack, E. (2021, June 10). Ingenuity: 9 images show the helicopter’s greatest moments on Mars. Inverse.
Tangermann, V. (2021, July 8). NASA’s Mars Helicopter Sends Back Stunning Color Photos. Futurism.

Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. My experience as a freelance writer began in 2018 but I have been part of the Curiosmos family since mid-2020. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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