The first helicopter on Mars is officially on Martian soil.
NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity touched down on the surface of the Red Planet after being dropped by its mother ship, the Perseverance rover, the space agency announced late Saturday (April 3). The helicopter’s first flight is just over a week away.
What are some skywatching highlights in March 2021? Look for Mars close to the Pleiades in the first couple of weeks of March. Then wake up early to observe the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn, which return as morning planets this month.
The robot has barely moved from its landing spot, but it’s sending back a steady stream of visual data that’s freely available for anyone to play with.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover landed in Jezero Crater on the red planet less than two weeks ago, but the advanced robot has already sent back some of the most memorable motion pictures in history.
Cameras on the rover and the descent module that carried it through the Martian atmosphere documented the last few minutes of the long journey from Earth in a remarkable and spectacular way. With the dramatic landing out of the way, the far more chill but no less intriguing task of exploring the surface begins.
UK filmmaker Sean Doran has taken some of the first images taken by Perseverance from within Jezero Crater and processed them to create This is Mars, a short film that’s one of the most captivating 30-minute panning shots you’ll ever see.