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It is the first time an aircraft has flown on another planet, with NASA successfully flying and landing their Ingenuity Helicopter on Mars.
The 1.8kg helicopter conducted its operation from the surface of Mars on Monday night (NZT).
For around 30 seconds, it hovered 3 meters above the martian ground and then landed successfully. Data of the flight on Mars allowed it to be confirmed when it was then relayed through space and received on Earth.
The Helicopter used its navigation camera, which autonomously tracks the ground during flight to keep it stable.
It is not easy to fly on Mars because the atmosphere is very thin, which compares to 1% of the density here on Earth.
More tests to fly higher will be conducted as engineers seek to try and take it to its limits for new exploration opportunities on other planets.
The blades on the rotorcraft gain a limited kick that allows it to gain lift for a short time.
Ingenuity was developed to be extremely light with a lot of power to turn its blades super fast — at around 2,500 revolutions per minute.
This mission will open up new opportunities for the agency, promising that more flights will occur in the days to come.
You wouldn’t believe what I just saw.
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) April 19, 2021
Image: SUPPLIED/NASA JPL
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