On Monday, NASA successfully launched its mini helicopter 'Ingenuity' above the surface of Mars in the world's first powered, controlled flight on another planet.
"The flight controls confirming that we have (inaudible) from Ingenuity. Ingenuity's reporting having performed, spin up, takeoff, (inaudible) hover, descent, landing, touchdown and spin down."
The test flight took place over 170 MILLION miles away from Earth on Jezero Crater.
There, the one.eight kilogram, robotic aircraft rose about three meters, hovered for roughly thirty seconds and rotated before landing.
Although the gravitational pull is much weaker on Mars, the planet's atmosphere is just one percent as dense as Earth's so Ingenuity flew with rotor blades four-feet long that spin faster than is necessary for an aircraft of its size on Earth.
Engineers also equipped it with two cameras, one for navigation and the other for looking out to the horizon.
Before lift-off, the helicopter was first carried to Mars on Nasa’s rover Perseverance, which touched down in February after a near seven-month journey through space.
The U.S. space agency has likened the 85 million U.S. dollar experiment to the Wright Brothers' flight in nineteen-oh-three, even marking the occasion by attaching a tiny swath of wing fabric from the Wright Brothers' original flyer under Ingenuity’s solar panel.
Its success means Ingenuity will undertake additional, longer flights in the weeks ahead.
NASA hopes the project will pave the way for advanced aerial surveillance of the solar system in the future.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.