Deep SpaceScience

Ingenuity Returns to the Landing Site

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

During its 26th fight, the Mars Ingenuity helicopter snapped incredible images  of the parachute and backshell that helped the chopper and the Perseverance rover to land on the Red Planet’s surface a little over a year ago. 

This was no coincidence: NASA and JPL intentionally directed the helicopter over to the landing site, thinking that photos of the landing debris could help ensure safe future landings for other spacecraft.

Ingenuity has had an incredible run on Mars so far. The craft was only originally meant to fly five sorties to validate whether or not flying in the planet’s thin atmosphere would even work. It does, and now the NASA Ingenuity team is using it to provide a different vantage point of the Martian surface.

A picture speaks a thousand words

Back at home, NASA scientists are analyzing the image of the parachute and backshell, which protected Perseverance during landing. The image shows some damage to the backshell, but it looks like the protective coating on the shell remained intact during landing, not destroyed by entering Mars’ atmosphere. 

  • The parachute and the lines connecting it to the backshell also look in good condition.
  • Over the next few weeks, the team will continue to look for clues in the Ingenuity images.

A flying guide: Perseverance is headed to the Jezero delta to search for signs of microbial life. When it arrives there, researchers may use Ingenuity to determine what the rover’s best path should be to get to the top of the delta. 

Related Stories
ScienceTechnology

How To Survive a Solar Storm

The geomagnetic storm that painted skies purple and green across vast swaths of the Northern Hemisphere over the weekend also created a dangerous environment for satellites in Earth’s orbit. 

Science

Voyager 1 Speaks Again After Five Months of Silence

NASA JPL engineers worked their magic once again, re-establishing comms with the 46-year-old Voyager 1 spacecraft after five months of radio silence. 

Science

SPACE-H Accelerator Looks for Companies Solving Health Problems in Space

No one wants to be sick on their pricey space vacation, or endure the nine-month journey to Mars only to find themselves too weak to explore upon arrival.

Science

Varda Releases Results of In-Space Pharma Mission

Varda’s space drugs are a-ok.