May 18, 2022

Ingenuity Sees Perseverance From Above

Ingenuity Sees Perseverance From Above
Ingenuity Sees Perseverance From AboveIngenuity Sees Perseverance From Above

Where’s Waldo (or Where’s Wally) is a very popular book series for all ages.  One way to make it potentially more interesting is to adapt it to interplanetary exploration by searching for a Martian rover in a picture taken from a Martian helicopter.  Ingenuity took a picture on its eleventh flight that would be a worthy addition to any interplanetary search game – in this image, the goal is to find Perseverance.  

After its initial test flights were completed and proved that it was possible to have a controlled flight on Mars, the little drone has been busy scouting locations for Perseverance to take a look at.  It has stayed slightly in front of the rover as it explores the geology of the Séítah segment of Jezero crater, allowing Perseverance’s handlers to see potential locations of interest before directing the rover itself there.

But occasionally, the images Ingenuity snaps capture its traveling companion as well.  That was the case when Ingenuity took a shot of South Séítah and managed to catch Perseverance in the shot.  To find the rover, seek out Ingenuity’s shadow in the bottom center of the picture.  From there, go up almost to the top of the image and slightly to the right.  

Perseverance is highlighted in this image by a white circle in the upper-middle part of the image.
Perseverance is highlighted in this image by a white circle in the upper-middle section.
Credit – NASA / JPL-Caltech

There are a few pixels of bright white, which is the rover – primarily the Multi-mission Radioisotope Thermal Generator that is its power source. The zoomed-in picture NASA provided shows what the rover looks like, almost half a kilometer away from a height of 12 m.  

Zoomed in image of Perseverance from Ingenuity's perspective.
Zoomed in image of Perseverance from Ingenuity’s perspective.
Credit – NASA / JPL -Caltech

There are sure to be other instances of the helicopter scout taking images of Perseverance as the two continue their exploration of the crater.  But even a few years ago, such images were the stuff of science fiction.  Soon, someone could use them to make up their own picture book.

Learn More:
JPL – NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Spots Perseverance From Above
UT – Long-Range Photo of Ingenuity Taken by Perseverance’s SuperCam Instrument
UT – Ingenuity is now Mapping the Terrain Around Perseverance
UT – Perseverance Takes a Selfie With Ingenuity. It’s Almost Time to fly

Lead Image:
Image of South Séítah from Ingenuity’s 11th flight, with a cameo appearance by Perseverance.
Credit – NASA / JPL – Caltech