helicopter on mars

April 19, 2021
helicopter on mars

We don’t know exactly where Ingenuity will lead us, but today’s results indicate the sky – at least on Mars – may not be the limit.

NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk after a little helicopter, Ingenuity, survived its first flight on Mars.
  • The helicopter, Ingenuity, flew for less than a minute (10 feet off the ground)…before turning around, taking a photo and landing on Mars' surface in the wee hours of Monday morning.
  • Ingenuity had no help from teams on Earth during its first flight. In fact, NASA scientists had to wait for hours for word to reach them confirming its landing.
  • The Martian airfield the Ingenuity flew over was named in honor of aviation pioneers, the Wright Brothers.
  • "Mars is hard not only when you land, but when you try to take off from it and fly around, too. It has significantly less gravity, but less than 1% the pressure of (Earth's) atmosphere at its surface. Put those things together, and you have a vehicle that demands every input be right," Ingenuity Project Manager, MiMi Aung.
  • What's next? Ingenuity, which arrived on Mars attached to the Perseverance spacecraft, could fly four more times in coming weeks. Perseverance will continue to serve as a liaison between the helicopter and NASA researchers by collecting photos, videos and data.

Why It Matters: NASA engineers say Ingenuity's success opens new doors for space exploration. It is the first aircraft to take an entire flight beyond Earth.

Instagram picture: https://www.instagram.com/p/CN2JEzMJhg1/

Sources: https://www.npr.org/2021/04/19/988697311/watch-the-moment-nasa-controllers-learn-that-ingenuity-was-first-in-flight-on-ma (NPR)

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-s-ingenuity-mars-helicopter-succeeds-in-historic-first-flight (NASA, Video here)

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/19/world/mars-helicopter-ingenuity-first-flight-scn-trnd/index.html (CNN)

by Jenna Lee,