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NASA lets you meet its Mars rover and helicopter here on Earth

NASA is offering space fans the chance to come face to face with full-scale models of its trailblazing Mars Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter.

The space agency is taking the models on a museum tour across the U.S. from the end of this month as part of its new Roving with Perseverance roadshow.

“As big as a car, with its camera ‘head’ rising high, Perseverance’s six-wheeled lookalike towers over most visitors, while Ingenuity’s double highlights just how small the history-making rotorcraft is,” NASA said in a message announcing the roadshow.

🤖🚁 Come one, come all! The #MarsRoverTour kicks off Oct. 30 & some venues feature in-person/virtual talks, interactive exhibits and more. Models of @NASAPersevere & #MarsHelicopter are heading out to museums across the country.

See the full schedule: https://t.co/kiSmBXA9zO pic.twitter.com/SdNaT3mLlx

— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) October 25, 2021

Perseverance landed on Mars in February and since then has been hard at work, searching for signs of ancient microbial life and collecting samples of Martian rock for return to Earth.

The diminutive Ingenuity helicopter traveled to Mars with Perseverance, and soon after arriving made history when it became the first aircraft to achieve controlled, powered flight on another planet. Since its maiden hover, Ingenuity has made more than a dozen flights, several of them covering more than 1,000 feet (305 meters). In fact, Ingenuity’s flight tests have gone so well that the aircraft has even been able to assist Perseverance by scouting locations for the rover to explore.

Besides models of the space vehicles, the roadshow will also feature in-person talks from scientists and engineers linked directly to the current Mars mission, with the speakers happy to take questions from audiences.

“The in-person events will include live activities at three venues to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Perseverance landing on Mars,” NASA said, adding that some of the roadshow’s exhibits will include digital displays with video, recent images captured during the mission, and even audio clips from Mars “to provide an authentic sample of what the rover is encountering as it explores the red planet.”

Visitors can also enjoy various science exhibits and displays, rock collections, spacecraft materials, and “interactive selfie stations.”

Take note, though. The full-scale models of Perseverance and Ingenuity won’t be on display at all of the museums that the roadshow visits. Those that will feature the full-scale models include The Museum of Flight in Seattle; the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.; the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia; the Exploratorium in San Francisco; the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City; the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City; and the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

Be sure to check NASA’s website for full details, including dates.

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Trevor Mogg
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