Ingenuity

Look: NASA Ingenuity flight 15 comes to life in new video

See Ingenuity’s flight brought to life in a new video.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Since April 2021, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has been making regular flights on Mars.

Ingenuity was originally intended to gauge whether an aircraft could fly in the thin atmosphere of Mars without direct human control.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Only five flights were planned for Ingenuity’s test period, which was to last just 30 days.

It’s been seven months, and Ingenuity is still taking to the skies.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

NASA/JPL-Caltech

After proving its airborne ability, Ingenuity switched to supporting Perseverance by scouting the route ahead of the rover on the Martian surface.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

All this time, Ingenuity has also been delivering images to NASA scientists, giving them and everyone back on Earth an unprecedented aerial view of Mars.

Impressive as that is, Ingenuity’s ground-facing camera returns several similar-looking photos with each flight. That’s not surprising, given Mars’ barren landscape, but it doesn’t always capture just how much work Ingenuity is doing.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA/JPL-Caltech/j. Roger

Photographer Jacint Roger Perez recently stitched together images from Ingenuity’s 15th flight on November 6, giving a better look at what the helicopter sees on its excursions.

The result: A two-minute flight condensed into 20 seconds.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/j. Roger

NASA/JPL-Caltech/j. Roger

Perez also shared an animation compiled from color images of the same flight.

Ingenuity’s flight 15 took it back to Raised Ridges, an area it previously scouted ahead of a planned visit by Perseverance.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

It’s the first in a series of flights to return the helicopter to Wright Brothers Field, its original test site which it left back in May.

Once there, it will rendezvous with Perseverance. NASA says it’s considering making software updates while Ingenuity waits for the rover to prepare it for the next leg of its journey.

NASA/JPL-Caltech