NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet on Monday, April 19.
Google has created an exciting new animation on its homepage to celebrate this achievement. To get this, Type “Ingenuity NASA” in a Google search for a Mars Helicopter surprise.
Sharing a video of the Google Search Ingenuity animation, NASA tweeted: “Do you like fun things? Type “Ingenuity NASA” in a @Google search for a #MarsHelicopter surprise”.
— NASA (@NASA) April 19, 2021
The Ingenuity team at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California confirmed the flight succeeded after receiving data from the helicopter via NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover at 6:46 a.m.
Ingenuity’s initial flight demonstration was autonomous – piloted by onboard guidance, navigation, and control systems running algorithms developed by the team at JPL.
Ingenuity‘s first flight lasted a total of about 40 seconds, with the helicopter spending a little less than 30 seconds hovering above the Red Planet’s surface.
After NASA, Google also shared a gif of the feature, saying, “Ten vertical feet for a helicopter, one giant leap for space exploration. Congrats @NASA #MarsHelicopter on an amazing first flight!”
— Google (@Google) April 19, 2021
Clicking on the animation launches the Ingenuity for a flight around your screen over an animated red surface, similar to that of Mars or the Red Planet.
NASA Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen said the Ingenuity helicopter has succeeded in performing this amazing feat on another world, 117 years after the Wright brothers succeeded in making the first flight on earth.
“We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet,” said a delighted MiMi Aung, project manager for Ingenuity at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.
The team is planning to push the envelope with “increasingly difficult” flights, according to Principal investigator MiMi Aung, who spoke elatedly at a press conference following the historic flight on Monday.