It took more than a little ingenuity as the first flight of a powered aircraft on a different planet has been hailed a success.
Ingenuity is the name of the 4-pound helicopter that took flight Monday morning on Mars, The Associated Press reported.
“Altimeter data confirms that Ingenuity has performed its first flight, the first flight of a powered aircraft on another planet,” the device’s chief pilot, Harvard Grip said, the AP reported. Grip had his feet firmly planted on Earth as he supervised the mini aircraft’s flight millions of miles away.
It took three hours after the flight to know whether the preprogrammed plan was successful. There had been a software glitch last week that scrubbed an earlier flight. The helicopter had a planned 40-second flight that included spin-up, takeoff, hover, descent and landing.
Ingenuity held a piece of flight history as it made its own entry into the books. A small piece of fabric from the wing of the Wright Flyer that made the first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, was attached to the next phase in the history of flight, the AP reported. It had been taken to Mars attached on the rover Perseverance.
Up to five flights are planned for Ingenuity which could, if successful, open the door to a fleet of drones landing on the Martian surface to give scientists aerial views and even act as scouts for future astronauts.
Watch the flight below.