For the first time, there are detailed images of components that helped the Mars rover Perseverance land. The Mars helicopter Ingenuity has captured numerous images of the spot where the Perseverance rover's landing parachute crashed. As NASA reports, the funnel-shaped part of the outer shell that protected the Mars rover when it landed can also be seen in the pictures of the crash site.
As can be seen in the pictures, both the outer hull part and the parachute are in good condition. They lie a few meters apart, surrounded by debris from the landing. The connecting cords can be guessed at between the funnel and the parachute. According to NASA, the funnel hit at a speed of 126 km/h, which explains the debris field.
Perseverance landed on Mars on February 18, 2021. The images were taken on April 19, 2022, during Ingenuity's 26th flight. The Mars helicopter took off for the first time on March 6, 2021, and covered a distance of 6.5 meters in 33 minutes.
Meaningful pictures with many details
The landing aid crash site was previously photographed by the Perseverance rover, but from a greater distance and from the ground. According to NASA, the photos now taken with Ingenuity are much more meaningful because they were taken from the air and show more detail. The pictures were taken from a height of eight meters.
NASA plans to analyze the images in the coming weeks. They are to be used to find evidence of safe landing sites on Mars. The photos can both show that NASA did everything right when planning the landing, but also a showroom for improvement, as Ian Clark from NASA's JPL explains. If no new conclusions can be drawn from the pictures, Clark still finds them "phenomenal and inspiring".