It powered up and only hovered in the sky for approximately thirty seconds at an altitude of ten-feet high, but that was enough to make the entire NASA team who had worked on Ingenuity jump for joy. For the first time in history, an aircraft powered up and took off on a controlled flight on another planet. Although the helicopter took off at 12:33 am Local Mean Solar Time (Mars Time), the team back on Earth at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory didn’t receive confirmation of the flight until 3:46 am Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). Why? Because the information had to travel millions of miles to get back to Earth! It’s a historical moment in the advancement of space technology and only the beginning of what Ingenuity and future helicopters will be able to tell us about distant planets. Exciting? We think so!
Five Interesting Facts About Ingenuity!
1. Ingenuity’s flight was a test to see if powered flights could even happen on another planet. Looks like it can!
2. Ingenuity’s first flight lasted thirty-nine seconds, but it can technically fly for up to ninety seconds.
3. Because Ingenuity is millions of miles away from Earth, it must fly autonomously, meaning it takes off and flies on its own!
4. Ingenuity is fitted with a solar panel to keep its battery charged.
5. Ingenuity weighs four pounds on Earth, but only 1.5 pounds on Mars.