NASA Perseverance Rover Ingenuity Helicopter Drop
NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter was successfully dropped 4-inches from the belly of the Perseverance rover, and this image was captured by the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) camera on the SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals) instrument, located at the end of the rover’s long robotic arm. Its first official flight should take place in about a week. Read more for a video and additional information.

One main objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. Perseverance will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet as well as be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock / regolith (broken rock and dust). The solar-powered, 4-pound Ingenuity helicopter hopes to contribute, as it attempts to survive the Martian climate.

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This [Ingenuity] heater keeps the interior at about 45 degrees F through the bitter cold of the Martian night, where temperatures can drop to as low as -130 F (minus 90 degrees Celsius). That comfortably protects key components such as the battery and some of the sensitive electronics from harm at very cold temperatures,” said Bob Balaram, NASA’s chief engineer for the Mars Helicopter project.