NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took a photo hovering above the surface of Mars. The photo was taken during the first instance of powered, controlled flight on another planet.
The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is part of NASA’s Perseverance rover, which landed safely on the surface of Mars in February. The rover is powered by batteries manufactured by EaglePicher Technologies in Joplin, Missouri.
Perseverance is the largest rover to date sent by NASA to the surface of Mars. It has a 7-foot robotic arm that can drill and grip to collect rock samples. It has nearly two dozen cameras as well as two microphones that will allow us to hear the red planet for the first time. On board are 43 sample tubes that will be used to store rock and soil samples as NASA readies a follow-up mission to collect those samples, with the goal of bringing them back to Earth.
A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).
Missouri has a long history of powering NASA’s space program including the InSight Lander, which is currently on the surface of Mars, NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft and the International Space Station. Missouri has been a key part of the U.S. space program since the 1950s driving the development of the Mercury and Gemini space programs and the CST-100 Starliner.