NASA successfully conducted the first flight of an aircraft on another planet, as the space agency’s helicopter Ingenuity completed a historic feat on Mars on Monday that it called a “Wright brothers moment.”
“Now, 117 years after the Wright brothers succeeded in making the first flight on our planet, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has succeeded in performing this amazing feat on another world,” NASA associate administrator for science Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen said in a statement. “While these two iconic moments in aviation history may be separated by time and 173 million miles of space, they now will forever be linked.”
NASA rover Perseverance captured imagery of the flight after rolling a short distance away, with one of its navigation cameras showing a sequence before, during, and after the helicopter’s flight.
Ingenuity, which weighs four pounds, successfully flew autonomously for 39 seconds.
NASA announced after the flight that the area on Mars’ Jezero Crater where Ingenuity flew will be known as Wright Brothers Field.
The helicopter stands just over 19 inches tall, and was delivered to the surface of Mars by NASA’s rover Perseverance.