MADRID, March 13
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter obtained this spectacular image of the sun in the red planet’s Jezero crater using its high-resolution color camera.
The image was taken on February 22, 2023 during the flight of Ingenuity 45, the first flight of a powered aircraft on another world, NASA reports.
The genius high resolution color camera is positioned 22 degrees below the horizon. The images sent by the 1.8-kilo helicopter to NASA are then focused primarily on the ground, looking for interesting geological features and potential obstacles.
Sometimes, however, a patch of the Martian sky will appear in one photograph. A helicopter captured such an image on its 45th flight, but a much rarer first on the map: the sun.
The photograph shows the sun slightly above the horizon with the hills in the distance, dated March 714, or fol. The glowing rays in the photo help illuminate Jezero Crater’s undulating landscape of alien sand and rock, and almost look like a photo that could be taken in a desert on Earth.
The spacecraft continues to make short flights around Jezero Crater on Mars and continues to collect data well beyond its lifetime. The genius arrived on the Red Planet aboard NASA’s pirate persistence, which reached Jezero soil in February 2021.
Ingenuity flew for the first time two months later, in April 2021, initially credited with a few test flights to demonstrate its pioneering technology. However, after much anticipation by NASA, the Ingenius mission was expanded to serve as a pirate persistence probe that searches for signs of ancient life on Mars and collects samples for future return to Earth. Genie has now flown a total of 46 times, a cumulative distance of 10.1 kilometers.
Flights 45 and 46 are only three days apart, on February 22 and 25, and flight 47 is expected to meet some day now.