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NASA Successfully Flies Helicopter on Mars For The First Time

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NASA-Mars-mission
Image courtesy NASA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S.A.(NASA) yesterday added a milestone to its history books by flying a powered aircraft on Mars for the first time ever. The images that were sent back to NASA show the Ingenuity helicopter successfully hovering in the air on the Red Planet.

“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.

The Perseverance rover deployed on Mars went further send back a short clip showing the four-pound chopper grounded at first. The aircraft is then shown to hover three metres above the surface, then touching back down.

The small helicopter dubbed Ingenuity itself sent back a still black-and-white photo from its downward-pointing camera. The image shows its own shadow cast o the Martian surface.

“We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet!” said lead engineer MiMi Aung to her team.

In its announcement statement about this achievement, NASA states:

“A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.”

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