Ingenuity's Shadow During Third Flight shows the GIF below which is made from cropped bits from several downward-looking images from Ingenuity's navigation camera, stretched so that the ground is fixed and the helicopter's shadow moves. It shows several interesting features.

The caption includes:

The shadow of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter can be seen in this animated GIF composed of images taken by its black-and-white navigation camera during the rotocraft’s third flight, on April 25, 2021. The camera, which tracks surface features below the helicopter, takes images at a rate at which the helicopter’s blades appear frozen in place, despite making 21 full rotations in-between each image. At full speed, the blades spin at 2,537 rpm. The images are aligned entirely using Ingenuity's on-board position tracking system highlighting the stability and accuracy of the navigation algorithm.

The GIF has been cropped to fill the frame, and the contrast has been increased so it’s easier to see; the frame rate has also been sped up. An uncropped version is included to show what the view from the camera normally looks like. An additional visualization shows how the star shape of the images in the original video is created by the fisheye lens on the navigation camera.

But I don't see said uncropped version anywhere. Does anyone know where/if it's been posted?

Question: Where is the uncropped version of this cool Ingenuity navigation camera GIF?

Ingenuity's Shadow During Third Flight, cropped version

You can also see the shadow hiding/opposition surge effect around ingenuity's shadow. Cool!

  • $\begingroup$ If I understand the caption correctly, this has been created by Ingenuity itself. I.e. it's likely the raw images don't exist at all. $\endgroup$
    – asdfex
    Commented May 2, 2021 at 9:04
  • $\begingroup$ @asdfex that will be interesting if it crops, does affine transforms and builds GIFs all while flying on Mars! Thanks for catching the missing link. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 2, 2021 at 9:16
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh: it's not that implausible that it does this: it has a lot more computational power than anything else on Mars (than everything else on Mars!) and it's connected to Perseverance by a link which makes wet string look rather high-bandwidth. So it might make sense to process stuff locally. OTOH I'd kind of want the raw data if I could have it, even if I could only get it much later. $\endgroup$
    – user21103
    Commented May 2, 2021 at 13:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh, yes, I agree with all that: this video was made for people, not for navigation, clearly. What I meant is that it's possible (though, I think, unlikely) that the image was processed on-board Ingenuity (not while it's flying of course!) because it was more efficient to do that and transmit only the processed image rather than all the frames given bandwidth constraints. I don't think this is likely but it's a possibility. $\endgroup$
    – user21103
    Commented May 2, 2021 at 14:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @tfb only slightly related; There is a short but nice description of how image processing augments IMU data here mars.nasa.gov/technology/helicopter/status/305/… which include some numbers like 500 updates/second and 30 frames per second. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 23:42

1 Answer 1


All raw images from both Perseverance and Ingenuity are here:


Filter by date

Filter by Ingenuity cameras

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ the original caption has a typo (or the page is missing the images, depending on how you look at it....). But all uncropped original images are at that link, just filter by date to find them. $\endgroup$
    – jumpjack
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 7:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I just notified the typo in "feedback page": mars.nasa.gov/feedback $\endgroup$
    – jumpjack
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 7:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.