NASA made history yet again on Monday, April 19, at 03:30 EDT (07:30 UTC), by conducting the first controlled flight of an aircraft on Mars, the iconic space organization confirmed via a live video link to mission control on NASA TV.
Though the first flight of Ingenuity only lasted only seconds and the flight was not particularly high by Earth standards, the monumental achievement of flying a powered aircraft on another planet - especially one with as thin of air and atmosphere as Mars - can not be understated.
"Altimeter data confirms that Ingenuity has performed its first flight - the first flight of a powered aircraft on another planet", announced an engineer in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the control room cheered.
Parked about 64.3 m (211 feet) away during Ingenuity's historic first flight, the Perseverance rover not only acted as a communications relay between the helicopter and Earth, but also chronicled the flight operations with its cameras.
The black-and-white image above is the first sent back to Earth from Ingenuity and was captured with its navigation camera, which only takes lower-resolution black and white images.
"We've been talking for so long about our Wright brothers moment".
Shortly afterwards, NASA associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen tweeted that "as an homage to the two innovative bicycle makers from Dayton, this first of many airfields on other worlds will now be known as Wright Brothers Field, in recognition of the ingenuity and innovation that continue to propel exploration".
IAEA Confirms Iran Started Enriching Uranium Up to 60%
While 60 per cent is higher than any level Iran previously enriched uranium, it is still lower than weapons-grade level of 90 per cent.
While Mars possesses much less gravity to overcome than Earth, its atmosphere is just one per cent as dense, presenting a special challenge for aerodynamic lift.
Although Ingenuity carries no survey instruments, its flights are meant to prove the concept of rotary flight in Mars' thin atmosphere, which has a density altitude of about 100,000 feet.
Original (18 April): After a series of delays, the first-ever powered flight to happen on another planet is go for liftoff.
Up to five increasingly ambitious flights are planned, and they could lead the way to a fleet of Martian drones in decades to come, providing aerial views, transporting packages and serving as lookouts for human crews.
The robot rotorcraft was carried to the red planet strapped to the belly of Nasa's Mars rover Perseverance, a mobile astrobiology lab that touched down on February 18 in Jezero Crater after a almost seven-month journey through space. Ingenuity is a technology demonstration, and this success opens up a completely new dimension of robotic space exploration.
Ingenuity was deployed to its "flight strip" on April 3 and is now in the 16th sol, or Martian day, of its 30-sol (31-Earth day) flight test window.