Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on Mars
Nasa successfully flew the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars yesterday, according to data and images sent back to Earth. "Altimeter data confirms that Ingenuity has performed its first flight -- the first flight of a powered aircraft on another planet," announced an engineer in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the control room cheered. A short clip sent back by the Perseverance rover showed the four pound chopper grounded at first, hovering three meters above the Martian surface, then touching back down. Ingenuity itself sent back a still black-and-white image from its downward pointing camera, showing its own shadow cast on the surface. "We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet!" said lead engineer MiMi Aung to her team. "We've been talking so long about our Wright brothers' moment on Mars, and here it is," she added. Nasa had originally planned the flight for April 11 but postponed it over a software issue that was identified during a planned high-speed test of the aircraft's rotors. The issue was later resolved through the help of a software update and tweak in coding.