NASA Is Taking a Life-Size Perseverance Rover & Ingenuity Helicopter Across the U.S.

NASA will offer an opportunity to see a life-size version of the rover in person.

Perseverance rover tour
Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

In the early part of this year, a lot of attention was focused on Mars as NASA landed its latest rover on the red planet's surface. The Perseverance rover landed on February 18, starting a groundbreaking science mission that includes the Ingenuity Mars helicopter taking flight, proving that powered, controlled flight is possible on other planets. 

To celebrate the ongoing mission hundreds of millions of miles away, NASA is bringing models of both Perseverance and Ingenuity on tour across the United States. More than a dozen museums will host the models as a part of the "Roving With Perseverance" tour. 

One version of the six-wheeled model is the same size as the real thing, about the size of a car with a camera that sticks up above the heads of most people. Its partner in exploration, Ingenuity, might surprise in the opposite direction. The helicopter is relatively small. Both will start their tour of museums this October simultaneously on the east and west coast, then, as NASA says, working "its way inland."

In addition to the opportunity to see the models, scientists and engineers from the NASA Perseverance and Ingenuity teams will offer in-person and virtual talks at some museums. The locations with full-size models include Seattle, Chicago, New York, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. A smaller model will be on display in Dallas; Hazard, Kentucky; Reno, Nevada; Downey, Virginia; Garden City, New York; Springfield, Missouri; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Seeing the rover -- or a model of it -- in real life may help provide a new perspective on some of the incredible images the craft has returned from the Jezero Crater. 

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.