On Monday, NASA successfully conducted the first-ever controlled flight on another planet. Moreover, it is the Mars helicopter Ingenuity flew a shorter flight which the agency has described as “a Wright Brothers moment” in space.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory flight control said on a webcast, “Ingenuity is reporting having performed spin up, takeoff, climb, hover, descent, landing and spin down.”
Currently, NASA is planning to fly the 4-pound craft for longer 30 seconds that is about 10 feet above the surface. However, the helicopter’s rotors spun over 2,500 revolutions per minute. This is far faster than a helicopter on the Earth that is due to the thin atmosphere of the Martian environment.
However, the flight was autonomous which was given the 15 minutes delay in communications between NASA’s locations in California and the surface of the red planet. Notably, this helicopter even carried out the tiny piece of fabric from the wing of Flyer 1, the Wright brothers’ aircraft in 1903 which made the first powered on the Earth.
The Ingenuity’s project manager JPL’s MiMi Aung mentioned on the webcast “Like the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, we know that our time to make a difference at Jezero Crater, Mars is not yet over – this is just the first great flight.”
However, the helicopter has arrived on Mars with NASA’s rover Perseverance that landed on 18th February which is after a six-month voyage. By deploying Perseverance the helicopter from underneath the rover earlier this month. Along with NASA performing a long list of preflight that checks at the time of the past two weeks. Moreover, the perseverance is expected to return the imagery of the flight in the hours ahead. It captures by using a wide variety of cameras in the rover.