NASA has today made history by performing the first ever powered, controlled flight from the surface of another planet with robot helicopter Ingenuity.
The mini helicopter took off from the surface of Mars and was airborne for less than a minute before landing, the space agency said.
MiMi Aung, project manager for Ingenuity at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, said that the successful flight was NASA’s “Wright brothers moment”.
The plain from which the rotorcraft took off will be known as Wright Brothers Field, in homage to the siblings who conducted the first powered, controlled aircraft flight here on Earth a little over a century ago.
In the coming days, the helicopter will make longer and higher flights to test its capabilities on the Red Planet.
A video from the Perseverance rover shows the flying machine in action:
In a statement, the US agency said: “It happened. Today our #MarsHelicopter proved that powered, controlled flight from the surface of another planet is possible. It takes a little ingenuity, perseverance, and spirit to make that opportunity a reality.”