PIA26238: SuperCam's RMI Spots Ingenuity's Broken Rotor
 Target Name:  Mars
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  Mars 2020 Rover
 Spacecraft:  Perseverance
 Instrument:  SuperCam 
 Product Size:  7371 x 2284 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  CNRS 
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA26238.tif (23.33 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA26238.jpg (897.8 kB)

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The Remote Microscopic Imager (RMI) camera aboard NASA's Perseverance Mars rover took these zoomed-in images of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter and one of its rotor blades on Feb. 24, 2024, the 1,072nd Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

The mosaic shows the helicopter at right, standing at an angle near the apex of a sand ripple. About 49 feet (15 meters) to the west of the helicopter's location (just left of center in the image), a large portion of one of the helicopter's rotor blades lies on the surface. The Ingenuity team is considering a theory that the blade detached after the rotorcraft impacted the Martian surface at the conclusion of the helicopter's 72nd and final flight on Jan. 18, 2024.

This mosaic is made up of seven images taken by the RMI, which is part of the rover's SuperCam instrument. At the time these images were taken, the distance between the rover and helicopter was about 1,365 feet (415 meters). Each circular image has a field of view of 26 feet (7.8 meters) at this distance.

Able to spot a softball from nearly a mile away, the RMI allows scientists to take images of details from a long distance. It also provides fine details of nearby targets zapped by SuperCam's laser.

SuperCam is led by Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where the instrument's body unit was developed. The mast unit, including the RMI used for these images, was developed and built by several laboratories of the CNRS (the French research center) and French universities under the contracting authority of Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES), the French space agency.

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.

JPL, which is managed for NASA 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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