NASA Mars Ingenuity Helicopter First Flight
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet earlier today. This tiny solar-powered helicopter lifted off at 3:34 a.m. EDT (12:34 a.m. PDT) when the Ingenuity team determined that it would have optimal energy and flight conditions. It achieved a maximum altitude of 10-feet and maintained a stable hover for 30 seconds before descending and touching back down on the surface of Mars after logging a total of 39.1 seconds of flight. Read more for the video and additional information.



The flight was completely autonomous, as the onboard guidance, navigation, and control systems running algorithms developed by the team at JPL, handled the hover. This was partially due to data having to be sent to and returned from Mars hundreds of millions of miles using orbiting satellites and NASA’s Deep Space Network, which meant flying it with a joystick was not an option as well as not being able to observe it from Earth in real time.

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LEGO City Space Mars Research Shuttle 60226 Space Shuttle Toy Building Kit with Mars Rover and Astronaut Minifigures, Top STEM Toy for Boys and Girls (273 Pieces)
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LEGO City Space Mars Research Shuttle 60226 Space Shuttle Toy Building Kit with Mars Rover and Astronaut Minifigures, Top STEM Toy for Boys and Girls (273 Pieces)
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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,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk.