Watch NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter fly on Mars using old school 3D glasses

Brittany A. Roston - May 13, 2021, 3:59pm CDT
Watch NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter fly on Mars using old school 3D glasses

If you own a pair of red-cyan glasses, you now watch NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter perform one of its flights in 3D. NASA released the video edited into an anaglyph, meaning it is a stereoscopic video where the same series of frames were reprojected and superimposed in two layers, one in red and one in cyan color, for use with color-filtered glasses.

NASA released the new 3D version of the video on Wednesday, explaining that the video shows Ingenuity’s third flight on Mars — the one that was captured by Perseverance rover, giving the public the opportunity to watch this historic achievement. The content was captured using the rover’s Mastcam-Z, which features two zoomable cameras.

The capture involved snapping a bunch of images of the flight sequence, which were then assembled together as frames in a video. NASA explains that JPL imaging scientist Justin Maki worked with a team that stitched the images and reprojected them for viewing as an anaglyph. The red-cyan glasses needed to view the video in 3D can be purchased online or easily made if you have the right supplies.

For those who want to go the DIY route, assuming you have some red and cyan cellophane, NASA has a 3D glasses template available to download for free on its website. It only takes around 10 minutes to cut out the glasses on cardstock and tape or glue on the cellophane filters.

Talking about the effort, Maki said:

The Mastcam-Z video capability was inherited from the Mars Science Laboratory MARDI (MArs Descent Imager) camera. To be reusing this capability on a new mission by acquiring 3D video of a helicopter flying above the surface of Mars is just spectacular … A helicopter flying on Mars opens a new era for Mars exploration. It’s a great demonstration of a new technology for exploration. With each flight we open up more possibilities.

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