NASA has been conducting some incredible science on the surface of Mars with its Perseverance Mars rover and the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. Ingenuity was a particularly important experiment that showed controlled flight was possible on another planet for the first time. Ingenuity performed so well that its mission was extended. It’s still helping the Perseverance science team explore the Red Planet.
With so much buzz around Perseverance and Ingenuity, NASA has confirmed that it’s taking models that are identical to the actual rover and helicopter on tour around the country. The models will be displayed at various museums as part of the “Roving With Perseverance” roadshow. The display will allow visitors to get a sense of just how large Perseverance is.
NASA says the Perseverance rover will tower over most visitors to the exhibit. At the same time, the model of Ingenuity will show how small the helicopter is despite its large contribution to science operations. Roving with Perseverance started this month initially at locations on the East and West Coast. It will eventually work its way to other locations in the heart of the US.
While the models are nonfunctional, the working rover and helicopter have been on Mars since February 18 of this year. The main mission for Perseverance is to search for signs of ancient, microscopic life and collect and store samples of rock and soil that will eventually be returned to Earth.
When Perseverance arrived on Mars, Ingenuity was tucked away under its belly. However, NASA has extended the mission for Ingenuity, and currently, it’s helping mission planners scout locations for further exploration by Perseverance. NASA also has Ingenuity scientists and engineers providing virtual and in-person talks to visitors to the exhibits.