NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight

NASA's experimental helicopter Ingenuity achieved the first powered flight by an aircraft on another planet on Monday.


National News

April 20, 2021 - 9:25 AM

NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter captured this image as it hovered over the Martian surface on Monday, April 19, 2021, during the first instance of powered, controlled flight on another planet. It used its navigation camera, which autonomously tracks the ground during flight. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/TNS)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s experimental helicopter Ingenuity rose into the thin air above the dusty red surface of Mars on Monday, achieving the first powered flight by an aircraft on another planet.

The triumph was hailed as a Wright brothers moment. The mini 4-pound copter even carried a bit of wing fabric from the Wright Flyer that made similar history at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903.

It was a brief hop — just 39 seconds and 10 feet — but accomplished all the major milestones.

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