NASA has shared its first colour photographs of the surface of Mars taken from its Ingenuity helicopter’s second flight.
The images of the Martian landscape were captured as Ingenuity hovered 17ft over the Red Planet’s surface.
NASA has shared the first colour photos of Mars’s surface taken from its Ingenuity helicopterCredit: AFP
A photo from NASA shows the helicopter’s shadow during its third test flight, captured by the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s navigation cameraCredit: EPA
The small drone arrived at Mars in February on Nasa’s Perseverance Rover after a seven-month trip from Earth.
The photos, which show Perserverance’s tyre marks on Mars’s surface, were snapped using Ingenuity’s high-resolution camera.
They were taken on Ingenuity’s second second successful flight through Mars’s atmosphere on April 22.
A NASA spokesman said: “The image, as well as the inset showing a close-up of a portion of the tracks [of] the Perseverance Mars rover and Mars surface features, demonstrates the utility of scouting Martian terrain from an aerial perspective.”
Earlier this month, NASA completed the first controlled flight on another planet following Ingenuity’s lift-off.
The space agency described it as a “Wright Brothers moment”.
The 1.8kg drone flew under two 1.2m-long rotors that spin in opposite directions at about two -thirds the speed of sound.
That speed is around five times faster than helicopter’s blades on Earth.
An image of Ingenuity captured by the Mastcam-Z imager aboard Nasa’s Perseverance Mars rover on April 8Credit: Rex
After the first flight, Håvard Fjær Grip, Ingenuity Chief Pilot, said: “What is exciting is that this helicopter has flown hundreds, if not thousands of times, but always in simulations.”
A short clip sent back by Perseverance showed the four-pound chopper grounded at first, hovering three meters above the Martian surface, then touching back down.
Ingenuity sent back a black-and-white photo from one of its cameras, showing its shadow cast on the surface.
On Sunday, Ingenuity completed its third and most ambitious powered flight on Mars.
During the flight, it rose 16ft and then flew more than 160ft before returning to its previous position.
This time, it flew at speeds of 4.5mpg, four times faster than previously.
Perseverance filmed the 80-second third flight on its Mastcam-Z.
NASA has planned two more flights before Perseverance before it jets off to explore Mars’s Jezero crater.
Nasa plans to perform two more flights with the craft in the coming weeksCredit: PA
Ingenuity arrived on Mars attached to the underside of the Perseverance rover, which touched down on February 18Credit: Getty
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