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It was a harrowing sight as the NASA Ingenuity UAV or Martian helicopter was able to fly high and mighty on Martian surface. It was a first time a helicopter like object flew on another planet and it was a momentous event for space exploration.
NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity just made aviation history, and its robotic buddy caught the whole thing on video.
Early this morning (April 19), Ingenuity aced the first-ever powered flight on a world beyond Earth. The 4-lb. (1.8 kilograms) chopper rose 10 feet (3 meters) above the floor of Jezero Crater, stayed aloft in Mars’ thin air for 39 seconds and came down for a pinpoint landing at its takeoff spot.
Ingenuity landed with Perseverance inside Jezero on Feb. 18 and deployed from the rover’s belly early this month. The solar-powered rotorcraft carries two cameras but no scientific instruments. It’s a technology demonstration designed to show that powered flight is possible on Mars, which has an atmosphere just 1% as thick as that of Earth at sea level.
Perseverance’s main jobs are to hunt for signs of ancient life on Mars and collect and cache samples for future return to Earth, but the rover won’t start that work in earnest until Ingenuity’s month-long flight campaign comes to an end. Perseverance is documenting that campaign and supporting it in crucial ways. For example, all communications to and from the solar-powered chopper are routed through the rover.