(WSPA) – Engineers at NASA got an aerial look at some of the equipment used to land the Perseverance rover on Mars.
Using the Ingenuity helicopter, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory snapped multiple photographs of the backshell and parachute used in the rover’s 2021 landing.
“NASA extended Ingenuity flight operations to perform pioneering flights such as this,” said Teddy Tzanetos, Ingenuity team lead at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Every time we’re airborne, Ingenuity covers new ground and offers a perspective no previous planetary mission could achieve. Mars Sample Return’s reconnaissance request is a perfect example of the utility of aerial platforms on Mars.”
The JPL released the photos Wednesday, just over a week after the flight.
According to the JPL, the images show the protective backshell and a debris field which resulted from an impact with the Martian terrain at around 78 miles per hour.
Also visible in the photos is a portion of the 70.5-foot-wide parachute used to slow the rover’s entry into the atmosphere.
The images were captured during Ingenuity’s 159-second Flight 26 on April 19, the one-year anniversary of its first flight. The helicopter covered a total distance of nearly 1,200 feet and flew to a height of 26 feet during Flight 26.
Ingenuity has now flown for more than 49 minutes on the surface of Mars and has traveled 3.9 miles.