Ingenuity: NASA confirms historic success on first Mars helicopter flight

Mars Helicopter Flight
Video Still: NASA/JPL

ORLANDO, Fla., April 19 (UPI/Gephardt Daily) — NASA confirmed on Monday the historic first flight of a powered aircraft on another planet, the Mars helicopter Ingenuity.

Engineers cheered and clapped during a live broadcast as data confirming the flight arrived from the distant planet to the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

The helicopter performed “spinup, takeoff, climb, hover, landing and spin down,” said Håvard Grip, Ingenuity pilot.

“We can now say that we have performed a successful flight on another planet, said MiMi Aung, project manager for the helicopter.

Images from the aircraft itself showed the helicopter’s shadow on the surface during flight, while additional footage from the Perseverance rover’s camera showed the aircraft hovering.

Mars Helicopter Hovers
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took this shot while hovering over the Martian surface on April 19, 2021. Photo: NASA/JPL

The four-pound, solar-powered helicopter flew 10 feet above the surface of Jezero Crater for about 30 seconds, just to demonstrate flight capability in the thin Martian air.

NASA expects to release more data and images, including video of the flight shot by the Perseverance rover, at 1 p.m. EDT.

To see video of helicopter in flight go to 38:20.

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