NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter, photographed on Mars by the Perseverance rover’s rear Hazard Camera on April 4, 2021.
  • NASA has released the first color photos that the Ingenuity helicopter took of the surface of Mars.
  • Ingenuity took three photos during its second successful flight, when it was 5.2 metres above Mars' surface.
  • The photos show the tracks of the Perseverance Mars rover, which carried Ingenuity to the planet.
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The first colour aerial photo captured of the surface of Mars

Ingenuity’s First Aerial Color Image of Mars

During NASA's Ingenuity helicopter's second successful flight on Mars, on April 22, it took colour aerial photos of the planet's surface.

Ingenuity's built-in colour camera, which contains a 4208-by-3120-pixel sensor, captured three pictures showing the dusty Martian surface.

NASA said in a press release that Ingenuity flew 17 feet, or 5.2 metres, above the surface when it took the photos.

In the photo above, a glimpse of the horizon can be seen in the upper right corner. Two of Ingenuity's four black landing legs are on the left and right sides of the picture, NASA said.

The shadow in the bottom center is Ingenuity's official launch zone, the "Wright Brothers Field," the agency added.

Ingenuity's second aerial photo of the Martian surface

Ingenuity's second aerial color image of Mars.

The photos clearly show the tracks of the six-wheel Perseverance Mars rover.

Perseverance carried Ingenuity nearly 480 million kilometres to Mars, and has taken photos of Ingenuity's flights on the planet.

NASA said in the press release that the Perseverance rover wasn't far from where the photos were taken.

Ingenuity's third aerial photo of the surface of Mars

Ingenuity's third aerial color image of Mars

Ingenuity flew for the third time in the space of one week on on Sunday. Its first flight, on April 19, made history.

It's second flight — when these photos were taken — was on April 22. 

The helicopter's third flight was the fastest and furthest it had ever travelled. Ingenuity flew 50 metres north across the surface of Mars, and reached around 7.2 kilomtres per hour. The entire flight lasted about 80 seconds.

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