Mockups of NASA’s Mars rover and helicopter are coming to Seattle


Rover and helicopter mockups
Virginia student Alex Mather shows off a mockup of the Perseverance rover at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in July 2020, while Alabama high-school student Vaneeza Rupani points to an Ingenuity helicopter mockup. The students won trips to the Perseverance launch as a reward for naming the two spacecraft. (Photo by Ken Kremer / SpaceUpClose.com)

Seattle’s Museum of Flight says it’ll serve as the first stop on a road trip for NASA’s full-scale replicas of the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter — display versions of the hardware that’s currently at work on Mars, 242 million miles away.

The SUV-sized rover and its drone-sized piggyback copter landed on the Red Planet in February, and since then they’ve both been surveying the terrain of Jezero Crater, which scientists suspect harbored a potentially habitable lake billions of years ago. The Ingenuity helicopter began taking on exploratory flights in April.

The mockups are due to go in display in the Museum of Flight’s Charles Simonyi Space Gallery starting Oct. 30. Representatives from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be on hand for the opening, which marks the kickoff of NASA’s yearlong “Roving With Perseverance” museum roadshow.

There’ll be yet another rover joining the exhibit for the Seattle portion of the tour: the Museum of Flight’s full-scale model of NASA’s Sojourner rover, which played a starring role in the 1997 Pathfinder mission to Mars. The museum is also planning video displays of Perseverance imagery, plus special events about Mars exploration.

The Seattle stopover for the “Roving With Perseverance” tour is due to last until April 3. Meanwhile, additional sets of mockups will make their way to other museums across the country. Here’s the full schedule, as laid out in the Museum of Flight’s news release:

Venues to display full-scale models:

  • Oct. 30, 2021 – April 3, 2022: Museum of Flight, Seattle.
  • Dec. 1, 2021 – Jan. 30, 2022: National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Va.
  • Feb. 18 – June 15, 2022: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, New York City.
  • Feb. 17 – May 30, 2022: Exploratorium, San Francisco.
  • July 15 – Dec. 15, 2022: Adler Planetarium, Chicago,
  • June 28 – Dec. 15, 2022: Clark Planetarium, Salt Lake City, Utah

Venues to display smaller-scale models:

  • Oct. 30, 2021 – March 18, 2022: Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky, Hazard, Ky.; Challenger Learning Center of Northern Nevada, Reno, Nev,; Columbia Memorial Space Center, Downey, Calif.; Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City, N.Y.; Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas.
  • March 30 – September 15, 2022: Discovery Science Center, Springfield, Mo.; EcoExploratorio, San Juan, Puerto Rico.





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