The news was received with applause and cheers of joy in the control room of the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“We can now say that humans have succeeded in making a motor vehicle fly over another planet,” said helicopter project leader Mimi Ong with great enthusiasm.
Scientists and hobbyists followed online directly the NASA engineers’ analysis of the data that was sent to Earth hours after the flight. “NASA” attached its historical announcement to a short video clip of the trip taken by the “Perseverance” rover, which arrived on board “Ingenuity” to the Red Planet before separation from it. The clip showed the spacecraft flying at a height of three meters before landing on Mars.
Taking off in the Martian atmosphere is a challenge, as its density does not exceed one percent of the density of the Earth’s atmosphere, knowing that the air force by the rotation of the helicopter’s propellers is what enables it to fly. This means that the Ingenuity fans must spin much faster than those on a regular helicopter to be able to fly.
The Martian event is as important as the achievement represented by the first engine-powered flight on the planet in 1903. A small piece of cloth from the Wright brothers’ plane that took off on this mission more than a century ago in North Carolina, was placed on “Ingenuity” in tribute to a flight. First ground flight.