PIA26237: Ingenuity at 'Valinor Hills'
 Target Name:  Mars
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  Mars 2020 Rover
 Spacecraft:  Perseverance
 Instrument:  Mastcam-Z 
 Product Size:  24346 x 5500 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Malin Space Science Systems
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA26237.tif (257.5 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA26237.jpg (11.04 MB)

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Figure B

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This natural-color mosaic showing NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at "Valinor Hills" was acquired by the agency's Perseverance Mars rover on Feb. 21, 2024, the 1,068th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The helicopter – the first aircraft to achieve powered, controlled flight on another world – sits just left of center, a speck-like figure amid a field of sand ripples.

Ingenuity damaged its rotor blades during landing on its 72nd and final flight on Jan. 18, 2024. The helicopter team nicknamed the spot where the last flight concluded Valinor Hills after the fictional location in J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novels, which include "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

The 67 images that were stitched together to make this mosaic were captured from about 1,365 feet (415 meters) away by the rover's Mastcam-Z camera. This is a wider and more detailed view of Valinor Hills than was shown in a previously released six-image Mastcam-Z mosaic that was taken from farther away.

Figure A: In this enhanced-color version of the mosaic, the color bands of the image have been processed to improve visual contrast and accentuate color differences.

Figure B: This image zooms in on the helicopter's location within the enhanced-color version of the mosaic.

Arizona State University leads the operations of the Mastcam-Z instrument, working in collaboration with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, on the design, fabrication, testing, and operation of the cameras, and in collaboration with the Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen on the design, fabrication, and testing of the calibration targets.

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).

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA's Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed for the agency by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.

For more about Perseverance: mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

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