NASA Makes History by Flying a Helicopter on Mars for the First Time | 22 Words

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...

The Ingenuity space helicopter.

And now NASA has finally got it up in the air.

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...

The drone began takeoff early Monday.

And people are amazed by the footage...

The blades gradually gained enough traction to lift Ingenuity, spinning about 5 times the speed of a helicopter on Earth!

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...

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 cameras on the bottom of Ingenuity recorded an image of itself in the air...

And the Perseverance rover filmed the liftoff from closeby.

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.

"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...

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.

"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:

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.

"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."