NASA successfully flew the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars on Monday, according to data and images sent back to Earth.
“Altimeter data confirms that Ingenuity has performed its first flight — the first flight of a powered aircraft on another planet,” announced an engineer in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the control room cheered.
A short clip sent back by the Perseverance rover showed the four pound chopper grounded at first, hovering three meters above the Martian surface, then touching back down.
— NASA (@NASA) April 19, 2021
Ingenuity itself sent back a still black-and-white image from its downward pointing camera, showing its own shadow cast on the surface.
“We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet!” said lead engineer MiMi Aung to her team.
You wouldn’t believe what I just saw.
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) April 19, 2021
“We’ve been talking so long about our Wright brothers’ moment on Mars, and here it is,” she added.
The first powered flight on Earth was achieved by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
A piece of fabric from that plane has been tucked inside Ingenuity in honor of that feat.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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