This story is part of , our series exploring the red planet.
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter weighs less than 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) and its rotors run about 4 feet, or 1.2 meters, from tip to tip. In other words, it’s small. That dainty size didn’t stop NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter from spotting the plucky rotorcraft down on the surface.
On Thursday, the MRO HiRise Camera team at the University of Arizona shared a dramatic look at both Ingenuity and the Perseverance rover from the spacecraft’s vantage point up in orbit. If you want a challenge, you can look at the full image and try to find our Martian emissaries on your own.
The HiRise group kindly circled both robotic explorers to help us pick them out from the rocks. The helicopter appears as a small dark dot. The rover is about the size of a small car, so it’s a bit easer to find. MRO snapped the view in late February.
The image is also notable for the landscape surrounding the rover, which HiRise team member Matthew Chojnacki described as “the fractured bedrock of what mission scientists are calling the Máaz Formation, thought to be of igneous (volcanic) origin.”
Perseverance and its flying friend arein the Jezero Crater. It may be one of the best places to search for signs of ancient microbial life and to collect samples that could one day be brought back to Earth.
MRO has an impressive track record of spotting machinery on Mars. The orbiter team shared aand its tracks earlier this month. The new views of Percy and Ingenuity show just how keen the orbiter’s eyes are.