NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter achieves historic powered flight on Mars
NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter nailed a successful debut test flight on Mars, engineers confirmed early Monday morning. The tiny spacecraft lifted itself 10 feet off the Martian surface for about 40 seconds, marking the first ever powered flight on another world. The historic demonstration opens up tantalizing possibilities for a new mode of planetary travel that could send future rotorcraft far beyond the reach of traditional rovers.
The four-pound Ingenuity helicopter lifted its tissue box-sized body around noon Mars time (around 3:30AM ET), spinning its twin rotor blades to achieve its first flight in the ultra-thin atmosphere of Mars faster than 2,500 RPM — much faster than the roughly 500 RPM needed to fly on Earth. The rotorcraft…