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NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Celebrates 50 Flights in Two Years

Ingenuity is a little dustier since its first flight on Mars two years ago, but it is looking mighty good after 50 flights.

Ingenuity Mars HelicopterNASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has completed 50 flights since first taking to the skies above the Red Planet on April 19, 2021, far exceeding its originally planned technology demonstration of up to five flights. The many highlights of Ingenuity’s historic and successful activities on Mars include:

  • The first aircraft to achieve powered, controlled flight on another planet, a feat that’s been called a “Wright Brothers moment”
  • Successfully flying in the extremely thin Martian atmosphere
  • Previewing areas of Mars of possible interest for the Perseverance rover to explore
  • Completing 89.2 flying minutes, covering 7.2 miles (11.5 km), and reaching altitudes as high as 59.1 ft (18.0 m)
  • Paving the way for future aerial explorers at Mars and, potentially, other space destinations

Atlantis: The Final Journey HomeIngenuity launched on July 30, 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and landed on February 18, 2021 at the Jezero Crater on Mars.

Ingenuity, is a technology demonstration to test powered, controlled flight on another world for the first time. It hitched a ride to Mars on the Perseverance rover. Once the rover reached a suitable “airfield” location, it released Ingenuity to the surface so it could perform a series of test flights over a 30-Martian-day experimental window.

With its tech demo complete, Ingenuity transitioned to a new operations demonstration phase to explore how future rovers and aerial explorers can work together. The Mars helicopter is exploring how aerial scouting and other functions could benefit future exploration of Mars and other worlds.

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