NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Ingenuity Takes First Flight on Mars

In a historic first, Ingenuity successfully flew on the Red Planet. The Mars helicopter was in the air for about 40 seconds.

April 19, 2021

The first ever powered flight on another planet was completed by Ingenuity on Monday, April 19, 2021. The 4-pound helicopter lifted off from the surface of the Jezero crater at 12:34A ET and hovered about 10 feet off the ground. At 6:15A ET, NASA and JPL received data from Ingenuity that the flight was a success.

During the helicopter’s flight, Ingenuity captured images 30 times per second. Once it landed, the flight data was sent to JPL through Perseverance. The Mars rover watched the historic moment from an overlook about 215 feet away from the helicopter. Ingenuity could fly up to four more times in the next few weeks.

The Martian airfield used by Ingenuity was named after the Wright Brothers. In 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright performed the first flight on Earth with their powered aircraft. They built the first successful airplane in history. The Wright flyer was in the air for 12 seconds.

Orville Wright makes the first powered, controlled flight on Earth as his brother Wilbur looks on in this image taken at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on Dec. 17, 1903. Orville covered 120 feet in 12 seconds during the first flight. The Wright brothers made four flights that day, each longer than the last.

Photo by: Library of Congress/NASA

Library of Congress/NASA

Orville Wright makes the first powered, controlled flight on Earth as his brother Wilbur looks on in this image taken at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on Dec. 17, 1903. Orville covered 120 feet in 12 seconds during the first flight. The Wright brothers made four flights that day, each longer than the last.

The helicopter’s second flight is scheduled for no earlier than April 22.

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