NASA recently released a 3D video of the third flight of its Mars helicopter Ingenuity that flew on the surface of the red planet on April 25. The video was captured by NASA’s Mars exploration rover Perseverance which features a high-tech zoomable dual-camera Mastcam-Z as its eyes. “A helicopter flying on Mars opens a new era for Mars exploration. It’s a great demonstration of new technology for exploration,” said Justin Maki, an imaging scientist who led the team that worked on rendering the latest 3D video captured by the rover. The released video, if seen in 3D, provides an immersive view of the surface and environment of the red planet. Brown rocks and sands and a brownish sky, the viewer feels like she is standing on Mars’ surface. However, if you do not have a pair of 3D glasses at your home, NASA has a tutorial that can help you make your own 3D glasses in a few minutes. There is also a 2D version of the video that was released on April 26, 2021.
The flight of Ingenuity is the first extra-terrestrial flight in the history of humankind. Four times Ingenuity flew to demonstrate humans’ ability to fly in other worlds, and the fifth time it took off, it went 10 metres high and 129 metres south of the Perseverance and demonstrated its successful operation. The helicopter was carried to Mars by Perseverance in its belly. The Mars 2020 Perseverance was launched on July 20, 2021, and landed on the red planet’s surface on February 18, 2021.
The place from where Ingenuity took off is named Wright Brothers Field, to pay scientists’ homage to the Wright Brothers - Wilbur and Orville Wright - who carried out humanity’s first flight using a powered aircraft on December 17, 1903. Ingenuity, which is humanity’s first powered aircraft to fly in a different world, carries a piece of fabric from Wright Flyer, the first aircraft that the Wright Brothers flew.
“With each flight, we open up more possibilities,” said Maki, in a news release by NASA.