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Ingenuity Helicopter clicks first aerial colour image of Mars

Ingenuity Helicopter clicks first aerial colour image of Mars

This photo, snapped on April 22, 2021, by NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity, shows tracks made by the Perseverance rover on Jezero Crater's floor. “This is the first color image of the Martian surface taken by an aerial vehicle while it was aloft,” NASA officials wrote. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Washington, April 25

NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has captured the first colour image of the Martian surface.

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter captured it with its colour camera during its second successful flight test on April 22, the US space agency said in a statement.

While capturing the image, Ingenuity was 17 feet (5.2-metre) above the surface and pitching (moving the camera's field of view upward) so the helicopter could begin its 7-foot (2-metre) translation to the west - away from the rover.

The image shows a closeup of a portion of the tracks the Perseverance Mars rover and Mars surface features, demonstrating the utility of scouting Martian terrain from an aerial perspective.

The winding parallel discolourations in the surface reveal the tread of the six-wheeled rover. The 'Wright Brothers Field' is in the vicinity of the helicopter's shadow, bottom centre, with the actual point of takeoff of the helicopter just below the image.

A portion of the landing pads on two of the helicopter's four landing legs can be seen in on the left and right sides of the image, and a small portion of the horizon can be seen at the upper right and left corners.

Mounted in the helicopter's fuselage and pointed approximately 22-degree below the horizon, Ingenuity's high-resolution colour camera contains a 4208-by-3120-pixel sensor.

The Mars Helicopter, Ingenuity, is a technology demonstration to test powered flight on another world for the first time. It hitched a ride to Mars on the Perseverance rover, which made a February 18 touch down on the Red Planet. IANS

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