A navigation camera on NASA’s Perseverance rover captured this view of the Ingenuity helicopter’s historic flight Monday. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
An automated mini-helicopter driven by two fast-spinning, counter-rotating rotors took off from the surface of Mars, hovered for 30 seconds, then successfully landed Monday to complete the historic first powered flight of an aircraft on another planet.
NASA officials received telemetry from Mars confirming the successful test flight early Monday. Engineers gathered at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory broke out in applause as data and imagery showed the Ingenuity helicopter accomplished its first flight as designed.
Håvard Grip, NASA’s chief pilot for the Ingenuity helicopter, analyzed the data stream from the rotorcraft and announced the drone had completed its historic hop at 6:52 a.m. EDT (1052 GMT).
“Ingenuity is reporting having performed spin up, takeoff, climb, hover, descent, landing, touchdown, and spin down,” Grip said. “Altimeter data confirms that Ingenuity has performed its first flight, the first flight of a powered aircraft on another planet.”
The helicopter’s ascent into the atmosphere of Mars came more than 117 years after the Wright Brothers accomplished the first airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and nearly a century after the first helicopters flew on ...