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This article was published on May 13, 2021

Watch NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter fly over Mars in 3D

The footage gives a new perspective on the red planet

NASA’s been sharing a constant stream of content from the Ingenuity helicopter’s mission on Mars, and its latest offering is the most immersive yet.

The space agency has released a 3D video of the tiny chopper’s third flight on the red planet, which took place on April 25.

The images were captured by a pair of zoomable cameras attached to the mast of the Perseverance rover, which carried Ingenuity to Mars. The pictures were then beamed 173 million miles back to Earth, where NASA engineers rendered the flight in 3D.

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First, they had to stitch the images into a video. They then reprojected the frames to optimize viewing in an anaglyph, which works by superimposing two images captured from different angles.

When viewed through glasses with different colors in each lens, the images are given a stereoscopic 3D effect.

If you don’t have your own 3D specs, NASA has a guide on how to make a pair. And if that feels like too much of a faff, you can also watch the flight in boring old 2D.

The video shows Ingenuity rise 16 feet, and then fly downrange 164 feet — a record until the drone traveled 873 feet on April 30You can watch it for yourself at the top of this article.

It’s only a short trip, but it may be the closest we get to watching a flight from a front-row seat on the Martian surface until Elon Musk takes us to his colony on the red planet.

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