NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter, which flew aboard with the Perseverance rover to Mars, successfully completed its first flight today. This is the first time a man-made object has ever performed flight on another planet! This is an achievement that one of NASA’s top engineers calls “Our Wright Brothers moment”. In fact, the helicopter carries a wing fabric from the 1903 Wright Flyer, the magnificent machine that was the first to perform powered flight on Earth.
On early 19th April, the 85 million dollar helicopter lifted off and hovered 3 meters (10 feet) off the surface of Mars and landed back after a period of 39 seconds.
The flight was confirmed after data was received from the Perseverance Rover, which was observing the flight from a distance of 65 meters.
NASA engineers, who were watching tensely to see whether the project that was 6 years in the making would do what it was built for, cheered after they received video data from the Perseverance rover.
This is a historic achievement for NASA and humanity! But, what next? Stay tuned as there are more flights to come….
Click here to learn more about the Perseverance and Ingenuity.