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“You Wouldn’t Believe What I Just Saw:” Ingenuity Helicopter Flies Successfully on Mars

19 Apr 2021, 14:35 UTC
“You Wouldn’t Believe What I Just Saw:” Ingenuity Helicopter Flies Successfully on Mars
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NASA pulled off a Wright Brothers moment on Mars early today by successfully flying the tiny Ingenuity helicopter for approximately 40 seconds.

“We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet,” said MiMi Aung, Ingenuity’s lead engineer, speaking to her colleagues gathered at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California to execute and monitor the flight.

You wouldn’t believe what I just saw. More images and video to come…#MarsHelicopterhttps://t.co/PLapgbHeZU pic.twitter.com/mbiOGx4tJZ— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) April 19, 2021

The solar-powered helicopter took advantage of the midday Sun on Mars and took flight at 12:33 Local Mean Solar Time (Mars time), 3:34 a.m. EDT (12:34 a.m. PDT) back on Earth. Altimeter data relayed back to Earth via the Perseverance rover indicated Ingenuity climbed to a maximum altitude of 10 feet (3 meters) and maintained a stable hover for 30 seconds. It then descended, touching back down on the surface of Mars after logging a total of 39.1 seconds of flight. This is the first ever powered, controlled flight on another world.

Perseverance was able to take images and video of the flight, and NASA says additional details on the test and more images are expected in ...

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