The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully tested the Ingenuity helicopter drone on Mars.
“The data shows the helicopter made a successful maiden flight,” NASA said on Twitter.
Ingenuity was the first device to do this on another planet, the department notes.
The drone weighing less than two kilograms rose to a height of just over three meters, hovered above the surface of the Red Planet for 30 seconds, and then sank back. The mission was recognized as successful. The test data arrived on Earth a few hours after its completion.
Ingenuity, worth $ 80 million, arrived on Mars with the Perseverance rover in February. On April 10, 2021, a drone helicopter was launched onto the surface of Jezero Crater (located on the western edge of the Isis Plain, north of the equator of Mars) and disconnected from the rover. Earlier, using satellite data, a former delta of a river flowing into a large lake was discovered in this place. Scientists believe that traces of life could have survived in the crater.
According to the plans, after the experimental flight, Ingenuity will make several flights within a month, rising to a height of 5 m. The unmanned helicopter will be used for reconnaissance of the Perseverance rover’s route. In addition, with the help of photographs taken by Ingenuity cameras, scientists expect to collect information about certain areas of the Martian surface that are difficult to observe from space.