Watch the Ingenuity Helicopter Zoom Across Mars in 3D

When NASA's Ingenuity helicopter took to the skies for its third flight on April 25th, the Perseverance rover was right there to catch the little fella's historic moment. Now, the agency has rendered the flight in 3D to enjoy the event as if we were there ourselves on Martian soil, right next to the rover.
Watch how NASA stitched the images into a 3D video 1 photo
Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS
Located on the rover's head, the zoomable dual-camera Mastcam-Z imager provided the view. Even if NASA already published a 2D video of this same flight, the 3D effect adds a dramatic depth to it as the rotorcraft takes to the sky, hovers, and zips off-screen before returning to the Wright Brothers Field landing spot. On April 25th, Ingenuity climbed up to 16 feet (5 meters), then it headed downrange 164 feet (50 meters), reaching a top speed of 6.6 feet per second (2 meters per second).

After Perseverance captured Ingenuity's third flight, Justin Maki, an imaging scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, led the team that stitched the images into a video. The video frames were then reprojected to maximize viewing in an anaglyph, which is a 3D image seen through color-filtered glasses.

Justin Maki has been making 3D images of the Red Planet since 1997 when he was processing images from NASA's Sojourner, the first Mars rover. However, this is the first time he has produced 3D footage of a rotorcraft flying on Mars. The helicopter videos are the most detailed 3D videos produced by the Mastcam-Z team to date.

If you don't have any 3D glasses around, rest assured, NASA's also teaching you how to DIY your own. You can simply cut the shape of the glasses from a cardstock or poster board, including the holes for the eyes, then take one cyan-color cellophane and one red-color cellophane and cover the eyeholes. Now you can enjoy the little helicopter's historic moment!

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About the author: Florina Spînu
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Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
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