The main challenge in Mars exploration is to look for signs of ancient Martian life at the bottom of Jezero Crater, and collect and store samples for future return to Earth.
During its last flight to the Red Planet, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter photographed a heart-shaped object among the footprints left by the Perseverance rover, writes Space.com.
Heart shows where the Perseverance rover made a small detour, perhaps to explore some interesting rock or mud patch, before returning to its original location and continuing on its way. Alternatively (if you are a very romantic soul), the ground robot sent a message of support to its air partner.
The car-sized Perseverance landed with Ingenuity attached to it in February this year at the bottom of the Martian crater Jezero, which in ancient times contained a large lake and river delta. In early April, a small helicopter landed on the Red Planet, launching a five-month campaign to show that it is possible to explore Mars from the air.
However, the helicopter exceeded all scientists’ expectations. They look forward to exploring the photos taken by Ingenuity during Sunday’s flight, which flew over a rugged area called Séítah.
These images capture rock outcrops showing contact between major rock units (a portion of the sedimentary stratum that is significantly different from the main rock) at the bottom of Jezero Crater.
They also include a system of fissures called “Raised Ridges”, which experts hope to visit in part to see if an ancient underground habitat may have survived there.
The main objectives of the Perseverance mission are to search for signs of ancient Martian life at the bottom of Jezero crater, as well as collect and store samples for future return to Earth.