Tens of millions of miles away, an American-made helicopter is buzzing around the surface of Mars, and now earthlings can watch that autonomous aircraft in 3D.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab has released a video of its Ingenuity Mars helicopter lifting off the Martian surface, quickly zipping out of view and then returning to land near to where it launched from.

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NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity becomes the first to fly on another planet

And if you’ve got 3D glasses — or want to make a pair — you can watch Ingenuity fly around as if you were hanging out on Mars. Watch NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Fly in 3D.

  • “The April 25 flight brought with it several other firsts, with Ingenuity rising 16 feet (5 meters), then flying downrange 164 feet (50 meters),” NASA said of the video.
  • “That was a record until Ingenuity traveled 873 feet (266 meters) on its fourth flight, on April 30. For its fifth flight, on May 7, Ingenuity completed its first one-way trip, traveling 423 feet (129 meters), then reaching an altitude of 33 feet (10 meters) above its new landing field,” said the space administration of Ingenuity’s recent travels.
  • Ingenuity weighs 4 pounds, stands 19 inches tall and has a rotor span of 4 feet, according to a NASA fact sheet. The autonomous helicopter is controlled from Earth through the Perseverance rover.
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From rover photos to 3D video

The video of Ingenuity flying around Mar’s surface is actually a series of photos taken by the zoomable camera on NASA’s Perseverance rover — the Mastcam-Z.

  • A team of Jet Propulsion Lab scientists stitched the images together to create a video, and then “the frames of the video were reprojected to optimize viewing in an anaglyph, or an image seen in 3D when viewed with color-filtered glasses,” according to NASA.
  • “The Mastcam-Z video capability was inherited from the Mars Science Laboratory MARDI (Mars Descent Imager) camera,” said Justin Maki — the JPL scientists that led the imaging team — 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.”

Short on 3D glasses or don’t have blue and red cellophane laying around your house? NASA also uploaded a 2D version of Ingenuity’s flight to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s YouTube page.