Monday, Perseverance’s Ingenuity Helicopter became the first aircraft in space history to make a flight on another planet. The Ingenuity team at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed the flight succeeded after receiving data from the helicopter.
The solar-powered helicopter flew at 3:34 a.m. EDT, or 12:33 Mars time, a time the Ingenuity team determined would have optimal energy and flight conditions. Ingenuity climbed to 3 meters and hovered for 30 seconds. It then descended, touching back down on the surface of Mars.
Ingenuity’s flight was all autonomous – piloted by sensors and computers. That makes everything even cooler.
As one of NASA’s technology demonstration projects, a 49-centimeter-tall Ingenuity Helicopter contains no science instruments, except for a few sensors for navigation. Instead, the craft is intended to demonstrate flight on another planet.
Since this event is so historically important, NASA Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen announced the name for the Martian airfield on which the flight took place would be known as Wright Brothers Field, after the brothers that created the first airplane to fly on Earth,
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