Nasa has released some exciting news following the Landing of the Perseverance rover earlier this year.
They've made history...
NASA's Perseverance rover first touched down on Mars in February, and with it, it took something amazing...
Perseverance got us to Mars. With Ingenuity, we soar higher.— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) April 19, 2021
The #MarsHelicopter made history today by being the first craft to achieve controlled, powered flight on a planet beyond Earth.
The Ingenuity space helicopter.
And now NASA has finally got it up in the air.
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Bot— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) April 6, 2021
WATSON digital image
Jezero Crater, Mars, 2021 pic.twitter.com/Gtw81npIJB
Read on for the full story...
NASA's Ingenuity space helicopter lifted off from Mars, flew, and landed safely, which is a giant leap for mankind...
🚁 #MarsHelicopter Update— NASA (@NASA) April 17, 2021
We're targeting as soon as Monday for the first controlled flight on Mars. Watch with the team as they receive data and find out if they were successful. Meet us in mission control April 19 at 6:15am ET (10:15am UTC): https://t.co/xAdT9tgYr1 pic.twitter.com/8wJEr3CLJa
The drone began takeoff early Monday.
And people are amazed by the footage...
Congratulations to everyone who made this possible! I can only imagine the amount of hard work that went into this.— Maureen (@mmaureen7) April 19, 2021
Congratulations on the first flight on a distant planet... Great job guys... 👏👏👏— Jose L Gutierrez (@sgtgakaluigi) April 19, 2021
It is sensational, it is a demonstration of technology, it is hoped that it can pave the way for future flyers to revolutionize our exploration of the planets— Jaime Zabala (@zabala7256) April 19, 2021
congratulations this is huge leap for space sciences— د/متعب بن خميس الربيعه التميمي🇧🇭 (@metebaltimimi) April 19, 2021
This is so incredibly cool.— CSGOOOOO123 (@csgooooo123) April 19, 2021
"We can now say human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet,"— Adrian Li (@AdrianL16882023) April 19, 2021
How it started How it's going pic.twitter.com/GObQp6MOqj
I must admit I felt a bit tearful watching this. An amazing historical achievement . Well done.— Arthur Black (@Wiseman1965) April 19, 2021
The blades gradually gained enough traction to lift Ingenuity, spinning about 5 times the speed of a helicopter on Earth!
The blades of an average helicopter on Earth rotate at a rate of 400-500 rotations per minute.— NASA (@NASA) April 19, 2021
The blades of the Ingenuity #MarsHelicopter rotate at a rate of 2,500 rotations per minute. 🚁 pic.twitter.com/RRyngpXxjS
NASA received the data several hours after the flight, which led to cheers in the control room at 6:52 a.m. ET.
The drone flew 10 feet above the ground, hovering there for around thirty seconds...
And was the first powered, controlled flight ever conducted on another planet.
10 feet might not sound like much...
I’ve taken several turns and made about 0.17 miles (270 meters) of wheel tracks from where I started to my current spot overlooking the #MarsHelicopter.— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) April 15, 2021
Check in on my location any time with this interactive map: https://t.co/uPsKFhW17J pic.twitter.com/AO5LJu41f0
However, hovering at that height in Mars' atmosphere is the equivalent of flying three times higher than the top of Mount Everest.
Ingenuity's purpose was to show rotorcrafts can still work in harsh environments.
Two bots, one selfie. Greetings from Jezero Crater, where I’ve taken my first selfie of the mission. I’m also watching the #MarsHelicopter Ingenuity as it gets ready for its first flight in a few days. Daring mighty things indeed.— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) April 7, 2021
Images: https://t.co/owLX2LaK52 pic.twitter.com/rTxDNK69rs
Two cameras on the bottom of Ingenuity recorded an image of itself in the air...
And the Perseverance rover filmed the liftoff from closeby.
I’ve driven about halfway to my overlook point, where I’ll watch the #MarsHelicopter’s flight test from a distance of about 200 feet (~60 meters).— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) April 9, 2021
I’ll have zoom cameras focused on the flight. Meanwhile, you can see Ingenuity centered in these views from my navigation cameras. pic.twitter.com/fmmgJRLIVg
Video footage was then available after a few days.
Due to the signals from Mars taking 8 minutes to get to earth, the helicopter had to fly autonomously.
However, a team of NASA engineers watched eagerly for an update.
They'd spent 5 years building the vehicle in preparation for this moment.
And didn't hear from the helicopter until about 3 hours after it flew.
At 6:52 a.m. ET, mission controllers received a signal that Ingenuity had landed safely.
287 million kilometres from Earth on a dusty red planet, something wonderful may be happening.— CanberraDSN (@CanberraDSN) April 19, 2021
"We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet," MiMi Aung, the project manager for Ingenuity, told the helicopter team at NASA mission control. "We must take a moment to celebrate."
Ingenuity's success means more flights will occur to see how high it can fly...
We just flew... ON MARS. I’m still in disbelief that we pulled this off. Our lab motto is “Dare Mighty Things” and let me tell you, we sure lived up to that today! 🚁💫😍#MarsHelicopter pic.twitter.com/klyysEeDCJ— Farah Alibay (@farahalibay) April 19, 2021
Before the flight, Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for science, said the flight would prove that NASA "can add an aerial dimension to discovery and exploration on Mars."
"That aerial dimension, of course, opens up aspects of science and overall exploration that, frankly, at this moment in time are only our dreams," he said.
Space helicopters could someday study large regions faster than a rover can, providing invaluable information to astronauts.
These space drones could fly "over ravines, down canyons, up mountains," Josh Ravich, mechanical lead for the Ingenuity team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said.
IT FLEW!!!— Kirsten Banks (@AstroKirsten) April 19, 2021
"Even rocky terrain is fairly inaccessible to the rovers but much more easily accessed by a rotorcraft."
NASA already has a helicopter mission in development:
🚁🔴 LIVE: Today’s the day! Join the Ingenuity #MarsHelicopter team now in mission control as they receive data in real time and find out if the first flight on another planet was successful: https://t.co/0r5Q22ryUC— NASA (@NASA) April 19, 2021
A rotorcraft called Dragonfly will set off to Saturn's moon Titan in 2027. It aims to investigate alien life.
But that only the beginning of NASA's dreams...
"Instead of a large rover carrying a small helicopter, imagine maybe a large helicopter carrying a small rover in the future," Ravich said.
Zurbuchen imagines a "fleet" of flying robots assisting astronaughts.
"Ingenuity has performed its first flight — the first flight of a powered aircraft on another planet!"— NASA (@NASA) April 19, 2021
The data reveals: Our #MarsHelicopter has had a successful first flight: 🚁 pic.twitter.com/h5a6aGGgHG
"I'm sure our community will look at any and all options to bring controlled flight to bear as a tool of research and exploration," Zurbuchen said. "I'm sure they'll think of aspects that I cannot think of right now."