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.

Meet Ingenuity: NASA’s First Mars Helicopter

Perseverance with Ingenuity strapped to its belly launched on July 30, 2020, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Mars Rover and Mars Helicopter safely landed on the dusty surface at 3:55P ET on February 18, 2021, after traveling nearly 292.5 million miles.

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Has Landed on Mars

After a harrowing landing and traveling nearly 292.5 million miles, NASA's Perseverance with Ingenuity touched down on Mars at 3:55P ET today, February 18, 2021.Congratulations to the teams at NASA and JPL. We cannot wait to see what research comes from this incredible mission.Experience more Mars on discovery+. Download and subscribe to stream NASA Mars Landing: Inside the Mission and When We Left Earth.

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