NASA’s Mars helicopter achieves historic first flight on red planet

at 8:53 pm
Mars helicopter
A view of the Ingenuity's shadow on the Martian surface during its first flight. The chopper's navigation camera captured the image. (Pic credit: @NASAJPL)

New Delhi (NVI): NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity today successfully completed its historic flight on the red planet, becoming the first such aircraft to achieve controlled, powered flight on a planet beyond Earth.

“It happened. Today our #MarsHelicopter proved that powered, controlled flight from the surface of another planet is possible. It takes a little ingenuity, perseverance, and spirit to make that opportunity a reality,” NASA said in a tweet.

“Perseverance got us to Mars. With Ingenuity, we soar higher. The #MarsHelicopter made history today by being the first craft to achieve controlled, powered flight on a planet beyond Earth,” tweeted NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory which manages many of NASA’s robotic missions exploring Earth, the solar system and the universe.

The Ingenuity miniature helicopter safely landed back on the surface of Mars. The historic flight took place at 3.34 am.

The Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars on February 18, has already returned several images it captured of the helicopter.

A team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, monitored the flight early this morning and analysed the first data received from Ingenuity’s first flight attempt.

The live coverage began at 6:15 am ET (Eastern Time). The conformation of the flight’s success came at 6: 46 am.

Notably, the helicopter flew through the thin Martian atmosphere on its own, without any help from its teams on Earth.