NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has been the talk of the town for a while now and it has finally made history. America has successfully flown the small helicopter on Mars. The flight took place at 3:34 a.m. ET and the confirmation came at 6:46 am via satellite at Mars that transmitted the chopper’s data to the Earth.
Soon after the success of Ingenuity drone, the project manager for Ingenuity at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said, “We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet. We’ve been talking for so long about our ‘Wright Brothers moment’ on Mars, and here it is.”
The team received the first data early Monday morning showing that the drone successfully completed its rapid spin test. They also received images which confirmed the success of the flight and the test. The first images that appeared were low resolution black and white photos from the helicopter’s navigation camera.
On the other hand, the Perseverance rover that landed on Mars on 18 February has also captured several images of the Ingenuity helicopter
According to the reports, the flight was initially scheduled for 11 April. But it got delayed after a command-sequence issue was discovered when it went through pre-flight checks.
Moreover, the JPL team has already shared a full video of Ingenuity’s flight, captured by the Perseverance.
Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk stated, “”Ingenuity is the latest in a long and storied tradition of NASA projects achieving a space exploration goal once thought impossible. The X-15 was a pathfinder for the space shuttle. Mars Pathfinder and its Sojourner rover did the same for three generations of Mars rovers. We don’t know exactly where Ingenuity will lead us, but today’s results indicate the sky — at least on Mars — may not be the limit.”
After the success of NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter, the organization is already looking to reach Saturn’s moon. According to the reports, NASA is planning to put a rotorcraft named “Dragonfly” on Saturn’s large moon Titan in 2027. It will be launched from earth and will cover a journey of eight years to Titan. Former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, “Visiting this mysterious ocean world could revolutionize what we know about life in the universe. This cutting-edge mission would have been unthinkable even just a few years ago, but we’re now ready for Dragonfly’s amazing flight.”