A recent NASA image may leave us wondering. The aerial shot shows a vast expanse of the surface of Mars and is taken by NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter on its eleventh flight on the planet. Look closely at the photo. Can you see NASA’s Perseverance Rover in the middle of the seemingly monochrome desert of the Red Planet? It’s right there and NASA scientists are delighted to see their newest vehicle on the planet in operation from a distance of 500 meters and a height of 13 meters. The device took many photos of Mars on its recent flight. Most of the images showed geographic features such as sand dunes, boulders, and rocky lands in the southern Séítah region of Jezero crater. But some of the photos, when enlarged, may show Perseverance working on his first science campaign.
At NASA website Robert Hogg, a senior systems engineer at NASA, was quoted as saying: “Ingenuity’s aerial images are impressive, but even better when you play ‘Where’s the Perseverance?’ with them.” He added: “Once you find our rover and zoom in, you can make out some details, such as the wheels, the remote sensing mast, and the MMRTG (multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator) at the aft end.”
But where do we find the little patch in the middle of the sand dunes? Any guess where the perseverance might be? If we look at a photo, we clearly see Ingenuity’s shadow. Directly from there, just beyond and to the right of the South Seitah dune, we see a “bright white patch.” If we get close to that speck, that’s the Mars Rover we’re looking for.
According to NASA websiteIngenuity’s eleventh flight was designed to keep it ahead of the rover. His goal was to photograph geological features where the rover could not reach.
Meanwhile, the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission rover was doing its astrobiology-related work, looking for signs of ancient microbial life on the planet. The rover is intended to collect data on the planet’s geology and past climate. NASA’s website says the Perseverance mission will be “the first mission to collect and store Martian rocks and regoliths.”