As expected, Ingenuity, the diminutive helicopter the Perseverance rover flew to Mars completed a successful test flight from the Jezero Crater at 12:31 a.m. EDT and achineved an altitude of about 10 feet before touching down successfully 40 seconds later. Eastern, but data from the flight, relayed through the Perseverance rover and another Mars orbiter, arrived at Earth a little more than three hours later.
But at precisely 3:34 a.m. ET on Monday, NASA successfully conducted a flight from the Martian surface, the first time a controlled, powered aircraft has done so on another planet.
The robot rotorcraft was carried to the red planet strapped to the belly of Nasa's Mars rover Perseverance, a mobile astrobiology lab that touched down on February 18 in Jezero Crater after a almost seven-month journey through space. More data and images and videos are being transmitted now back to Earth.
Ingenuity quickly sent back a black-and-white image from its downward pointing navigation camera, showing its bug-like shadow cast on the surface.More news: Less than 100 ICU beds vacant in Delhi, situation worsening: Kejriwal
Hence, they are now "optimistic that the helicopter will be able to take off from the Martian surface at this time", as the modified sequence is likely to function about 85 percent of the time, without endangering the craft if the command fails.
Although Ingenuity carries no survey instruments, its flights are meant to prove the concept of rotary flight in Mars' thin atmosphere, which has a density altitude of about 100,000 feet.
After years of preparation and planning, NASA made history in space today.
Following the confirmation of the flight's success and the reveal of the images from Ingenuity and the Perseverance rover, Mimi Aun, project manager at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), gave an emotional speech in which she likened the Ingenuity project's first successful test flight to a Wright Brothers moment.More news: Table Mountain fire: Historic buildings destroyed in Cape Town
The flight came after a one-week delay, after tests indicated an issue with the flight computer as it transitioned from the "Pre-Flight" to "Flight" mode.
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Ingenuity's goal, by contrast, is to demonstrate its technology works, and it won't contribute to Perseverance's science goals.
After the announcement, Aung was jubilant as she ripped up the papers holding the plan in case the flight had failed. The two pairs of blades must spin in opposite directions at about 2,500 revolutions per minute - about eight times as fast as a passenger helicopter on Earth - to lift the 4-pound drone.More news: Covid variant first detected in India is found in the UK