On Monday, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history to make a controlled flight on another planet.
“This really is a Wright brothers moment. It’s the start of a whole new kind of planetary exploration,” acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said during a press conference.
“We don’t know exactly where Ingenuity will lead us, but today’s results indicate the sky – at least on Mars – may not be the limit.”
According to the USA Today, Mars has only 1% of the atmosphere of Earth, making flight extremely difficult.
“A rotocraft pushes atmosphere to generate lift. When there is that little atmosphere, the roto system has to spin really fast. In fact it spins at over 2,500 revolutions per minute for the flight,” said Ingenuity’s Project Manager Mimi Aung.
After an issue last week, Ingenuity lifted 10 feet off the ground and hovered for 30 seconds before landing.
“Ingenuity is the latest in a long and storied tradition of NASA projects achieving a space exploration goal once thought impossible,” said Jurczyk.