During yet another successful flight over the surface of Mars in Jezero Crater on 4 August 2021, JPL’s Ingenuity helicopter captured its robotic partner Perseverance on camera off in the distance. The image above, shared by NASA on 11 August 2021, shows a view from Ingenuity taken from about 12 meters up with its shadow visible at center at the bottom, its landing feet poking in a bit on either side, and near the top (I included the arrow for assistance) a handful of pixels that shows the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover.
At the time Perseverance was about 500 meters away.
“Ingenuity’s aerial images are awesome – but even better when you get to play ‘Where’s Perseverance?’ with them. Once you find our rover and zoom in, you can make out some details, like the wheels, remote sensing mast, and the MMRTG on the aft end.”— Robert Hogg, Perseverance Deputy Mission Manager
Check out a zoomed-in “enhanced” view below (perhaps they should have equipped Perseverance with a red and white striped hat!)
The first time Ingenuity spotted the rover during a flight was on 25 April 2021, during its third flight. At that time it was much closer—85 meters away.
From a news release from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory:
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter recently completed its 11th flight at the Red Planet, snapping multiple photographs during its trip. Along with capturing the boulders, sand dunes, and rocky outcrops prevalent in the “South Séítah” region of Jezero Crater, a few of the images capture NASA’s Perseverance rover amid its first science campaign.
Ingenuity began as a technological demonstration to prove that powered, controlled flight on Mars is possible. It is now an operations demonstration intended to investigate how a rotorcraft can add an aerial dimension to missions like Perseverance, scouting possible areas of scientific interest and offering detailed views of nearby areas too hazardous for the rover to explore.
*Update: Planetary scientist Thomas Appéré shared on Twitter his discovery of Perseverance in four different images (well the above image and three others) captured by Ingenuity on 4 August. Very cool!