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NASA's Ingenuity helicopter flies successfully on Mars

NASA Ingenuity Mars Helicopter
Posted at 4:00 AM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 12:59:16-04

NASA confirmed Monday that its experimental helicopter, Ingenuity, flew successfully on Mars for the first time.

It marked NASA's first-ever powered, controlled flight on another planet.

The little 4-pound helicopter named Ingenuity rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet.

According to NASA, the helicopter went airborne at 3:34 a.m. ET on Monday morning, climbing to an altitude of about 10 feet and hovering for about 30 seconds. It touched back down on Mars after a flight time of about 39 seconds.

Ground controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California announced the news after receiving and reviewing the data.

It took three hours for the news to reach Earth via the Perseverance rover and a satellite around Mars, 178 million miles away.

The helicopter arrived at Mars in February, clinging to Perseverance's belly.

NASA says it hopes to conduct a second experimental test flight in the coming days before determining how best to expand the helicopter's flight profile.