NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter Captured These Amazing Shots Of Mars

hero nasa ingenuity image

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter captured a breathtaking image of the Mars landscape, and had a fellow Martian spacecraft photobomb the picture. During Ingenuity's 51st flight over the Belva crater, NASA's Perseverance rover can be spotted way off in the distance.

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter completed its historic 50th flight on the Red Planet on April 13, 2023. During that flight, the helicopter flew over 1,057 feet (322 meters) in 145.7 seconds. It also was able to achieve a new altitude record of 59 feet (18 meters). But it was on the spacecraft's 51st flight that Perseverance decided to join in on the festivities.

Ingenuity and Perseverance have been roaming the planet close to one another as of late. In a "Where's Waldo?" type tweet, NASA asked users if they could spot Perseverance in one image (top image) captured during the flight, and Ingenuity in a second image (see below). While Perseverance is a bit easier to spot, Ingenuity presents more of a challenge.

nasa perseverance image

One person spotted another interesting object (see below) in Ingenuity's image and asked NASA JPL what it was. NASA JPL responded, "Good eye! This is a small triangular piece of debris from the rover's entry, descent, and landing system."

debris from perseverance entry

Lori Glaze, Director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said of Ingenuity's 50th flight, "Just as the Wright brothers continued their experiments well after that momentous day at Kitty Hawk in 1903, the Ingenuity team continues to pursue and learn from the flight operations of the first aircraft on another world."

Ingenuity has indeed gone above and beyond. The helicopter is 23 Earth months and 45 flights beyond what was expected. It has flown for over 89 minutes and traveled more than 7.1 miles (11.6 kilometers).

"When we first flew, we thought we would be incredibly lucky to eke out five flights," explained Teddy Tsanetos, Ingenuity team lead at JPL. "We have exceeded our expected cumulative flight time since our technology demonstration wrapped by 1,250% and expected distance flown by 2,214%."