NASA’s Ingenuity is a 1.8-kilogram (4-pound) robotic helicopter, and on April 19, it became the first-ever human vehicle to achieved propelled flight on a world that isn’t Earth. The first data coming in showed that Ingenuity’s first flight was a success as the little helicopter hovered about three meters (ten feet) from the ground, and was followed by the first images and videos from the event.
NASA has now released an even higher resolution video of the whole event using Perseverance's cameras, where it is possible to see the spin-up, lift-off, flight, and then touch down of Ingenuity in incredible detail. A truly phenomenal and historic achievement for the team.
“We have been thinking for so long about having our Wright brothers moment on Mars, and here it is,” Ingenuity project manager MiMi Aung, from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement. “We will take a moment to celebrate our success and then take a cue from Orville and Wilbur regarding what to do next. History shows they got back to work – to learn as much as they could about their new aircraft – and so will we.”
The team is still receiving data and analyzing it, and this will inform the next flights that Ingenuity might undertake. Four more are expected for this incredible technology demonstration. The next test is not expected for another few days at least, and if that is also successful the team will study how to make Ingenuity’s flight a bit more “daring” in length, format, and aerial motion.