If you've got a pair of 3D or red/blue glasses leftover from a trip to the movies, you are in for a treat. You can now watch NASA's Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, soaring across the landscape of the Red Planet in glorious 3D. You can watch it rise up and fly 50 meters (164 feet) from the Wright Brothers airfield on its third flight as if you were standing on the surface of Mars itself and watching.
The video was recorded from Perseverance's Mastcam-Z instrument, a zoomable dual-camera located on the rover’s mast. The camera is capable of stereo-imaging, which allowed scientists here on Earth to turn the slightly different perspective into an immersive view of Mars.
The images were reprojected for viewing as an anaglyph, or 3D view, when viewed using special red and cyan glasses. Don't have your own 3D glasses? NASA has a handy guide to making your own right here.
Similar technology is used by NASA’s Curiosity and its team has been working hard turning many of the thousands of snapshots taken by the robotic explorer into 3D images, which you can explore here.
“The Mastcam-Z video capability was inherited from the Mars Science Laboratory MARDI (MArs Descent Imager) camera,” Justin Maki, an imaging scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement. “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.”
NASA suggests viewing with your own 3D glasses but if 3D is not for you, you can enjoy the 2D video too. And since it focuses on the first propelled vehicle humanity has ever flown beyond Earth, it remains pretty incredible in itself.