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Watch NASA Mars Helicopter Make Aviation History: The First Powered, Controlled Flight on Another Planet

Ingenuity illustration, NASA

When NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars two months ago, it did so with a helicopter attached to its belly. Now the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has made history as the first to take a powered, controlled flight on another planet.

On April 19, the chopper rose three meters above the floor of a crater, stayed aloft in the Red Planet’s extremely thin red air for 39 seconds, then come down for a pinpoint landing at its take-off spot.

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The 4-pound rotorcraft is being used as a demonstration to help determine whether future explorations on Mars could include an aerial perspective. That means lots more flying tests for this helicopter.

On Friday, Ingenuity ascended to five meters, then was pushed to new limits: flying south for 84 meters, passing over rocks and small craters—and taking photos the whole way.

(WATCH the NASA video of Ingenuity’s historic first flight below.)

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