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NASA's Ingenuity Helicopter Makes Historic First Flight on Mars


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The Ingenuity helicopter.

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter has become the first aircraft to achieve powered flight on Mars.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)'s Ingenuity helicopter has become the first aircraft to achieve powered flight on Mars.

Ingenuity accompanied the Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars in February; it operates autonomously based on preprogrammed instructions and uses its cameras and sensors to navigate.

For its first Martian flight, the aircraft ascended, hovered for about 40 seconds, and returned to its landing spot.

Ingenuity will perform up to four flights roughly every three Martian days during the next month; its next two flights will take the helicopter up to five meters (16.4 feet) above the surface and moving up to 15 meters (49 feet) forward and back to the landing area.

NASA's David Flannery suggested Ingenuity's flights could lead to the design of more resilient drones, as well as informing the evolution of drones on Earth.

From ABC News (Australia)

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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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