NASA has created history by landing its Ingenuity Helicopter on Mars, the first powered flight on another planet. On 19th April, the whole team of NASA rejoiced when the Ingenuity helicopter entered the red planet’s atmosphere at around 3:30 am ET (Eastern Time).
The helicopter weighing four pounds first landed on the planet with the Perseverance rover in the month of February to discover signs of extraterrestrial life. Considering the planet’s atmosphere is much colder and has different levels of gravity as compared to the Earth, the helicopter began testing the flight conditions.
As informed by NASA, in its first test flight, the helicopter hovered at around 3 meters from the surface of Mars and landed back after about 39 seconds. The flight that took place on 19th April was earlier scheduled to fly on 11th April. However, due to the occurrence of an unforeseen software issue, the flight had to be delayed. The issue was fixed by experts by updating the software and making a few changes in the coding.
More such test flights are going to be scheduled in the coming days making use of more high definition cameras attached to the Perseverance rover. The next flight is most likely to be scheduled for 22nd April.
The rover that moves across on the surface of Mars will help scientists by capturing images, collecting environmental data, hosting the base station that lets the helicopter communicate with mission controllers present at the NASA office.
All the images and data collected by the first test flight were received and processed from 278 million kilometres after three hours of the flight. NASA released images and short videos on its official platforms for the entire world to view this historical achievement.