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NASA photos show the Perseverance Mars rover and tiny Ingenuity helicopter from space

The Ingenuity helicopter, circled in red, seen from space on Mars on March, 31 2022 by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona)

NASA's newest Mars rover and its trusty helicopter companion were spotted all the way from space in a new photo.

In 2021, NASA's Perseverance rover and the first-ever Mars helicopter Ingenuity landed in Jezero Crater on the surface of the Red Planet. Now, a high-resolution camera on a NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars has captured the pair from orbit. 

The new image, snapped on March 31, the HiRISE (high resolution imagine experiment) camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows both the rover and helicopter together on the planet's surface. These images come just about 16 years after the camera delivered its first Mars photos

Related: 1 year later, Ingenuity helicopter still going strong on Mars

The spacecraft might be a bit hard to spot in the black-and-white image, but annotated versions from the space agency show the pair from above. 

In the image, "Percy" (as Perseverance is known) can be seen sitting on the cracked surface of a large rock formation called "Máaz," the Navajo word for "Mars." About 656 feet (200 meters) to the left of the rover, Ingenuity sits on the bedrock. A number of Martian features have been given names in the Navajo language as part of a collaboration with the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President.

Perseverance was sent to Mars with two main mission objectives: to collect samples for a future return to Earth and to investigate possible evidence of ancient life on the Red Planet. Ingenuity was sent to Mars within the rover. 

While the helicopter was originally only slated to perform a few flights as part of a technology demonstration, its successful performance has now seen the craft perform 22 flights and helping Perseverance in scouting out exploration routes.

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Chelsea Gohd
Senior Writer

Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined Space.com in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.