Mars helicopter snaps first color photo of Red Planet, survives first cold night

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter is seen in a close-up taken by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard the Perseverance rover. This image was taken on April 5, 2021, the 45th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU (WKMG 2021)

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is achieving some major milestones this week.

According to NASA, the rotorcraft survived its first night after being deployed by NASA’s Perseverance rover on April 3.

According to NASA, evening temperatures at Jezero Crater can plunge as low as minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit, which can freeze and crack unprotected electrical components and damage the onboard batteries required for flight.

“This is the first time that Ingenuity has been on its own on the surface of Mars,” Ingenuity project manager MiMi Aung said. “But we now have confirmation that we have the right insulation, the right heaters, and enough energy in its battery to survive the cold night, which is a big win for the team. We’re excited to continue to prepare Ingenuity for its first flight test.”

Also this week, the Ingenuity helicopter captured the first color photo of Mars.

See below:

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took this image with its color camera from beneath the Perseverance rover after the rover had deployed the rotorcraft to the surface of Mars. Image was taken on April 3, 2021. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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