The First Powered, Controlled Flight on Another Planet

Ingenuity illustration, NASA

When NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars two months ago, it did so with a helicopter attached to its belly. Now the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has made history as the first to take a powered, controlled flight on another planet.

On April 19, the chopper rose three meters above the floor of a crater, stayed aloft in the Red Planet’s extremely thin red air for 39 seconds, then come down for a pinpoint landing at its take-off spot.

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The 4-pound rotorcraft is being used as a demonstration to help determine whether future explorations on Mars could include an aerial perspective. That means lots more…

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