NASA’s miniature robot helicopter Ingenuity performed a successful takeoff and landing on Mars early on Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight by an aircraft over the surface of another planet, the US space agency said.
“Ingenuity has performed its first flight — the first flight of a powered aircraft on another planet!” The data reveals: Our #MarsHelicopter has had a successful first flight,” NASA wrote on Twitter.
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 Feburary18 in Jezero Crater after a nearly seven-month journey through space.
NASA expects to receive images and video of the flight that mission engineers hope to capture using cameras mounted on the helicopter and the Perseverance rover, which will be parked 250 feet (76 meters) away from Ingenuity’s flight zone.
Ingenuity will undertake several additional, lengthier flights in the weeks ahead, though it will need to rest four to five days in between each to recharge its batteries.