Two bots, one selfie — That’s what NASA’s Mars Rover, Perseverance captioned the first selfie ever taken in space featuring more than a single rover, so far. Perseverance Mars rover took a selfie with the Ingenuity helicopter, which stood about about 13 feet (4 meters) away in the image taken on April 6, 2021, or the 46th Martian day of the mission. According to NASA, Perseverance captured the image using a camera called WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering), part of the SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals) instrument, located at the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
Posting the selfie on Twitter, Perseverance captioned it, “Two bots, one selfie. Greetings from Jezero Crater, where I’ve taken my first selfie of the mission. I’m also watching the #MarsHelicopter Ingenuity as it gets ready for its first flight in a few days. Daring mighty things indeed.”
According to the NASA website, Perseverance’s selfie with Ingenuity was stitched together from 62 individual images taken while the rover was looking at the helicopter, then again while it was looking at the WATSON camera.
Once the team is ready to attempt the first flight, Perseverance will receive and relay to Ingenuity the final flight instructions from JPL mission controllers. Several factors will determine the precise time for the flight, including modeling of local wind patterns informed by measurements taken by the MEDA (Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer) instrument aboard Perseverance. Ingenuity will run its rotors to 2,537 rpm and, if all final self-checks look good, lift off. After climbing at a rate of about 3 feet per second (1 meter per second), the helicopter will hover at 10 feet (3 meters) above the surface for up to 30 seconds. Then, Ingenuity will descend and touch back down on the Martian surface.
NASA scientists in February had presented striking early images from the picture-perfect landing of the Mars rover Perseverance, including a selfie of the six-wheeled vehicle dangling just above the surface of the Red Planet moments before touchdown. The color photograph, likely to become an instant classic among memorable images from the history of spaceflight, was snapped by a camera mounted on the rocket-powered “sky crane” descent-stage just above the rover as the car-sized space vehicle was being lowered on Thursday to Martian soil.