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NASA Flies A Helicopter On Mars, The First Time An Aircraft Has Flown On Another Planet (Video)

Ingenuity flies on Mars (NASA Image via Twitter)

  NASA successfully flew its four-pound helicopter from the surface of Mars early Monday, the first powered flight of an aircraft on another planet, a feat NASA officials compared to the Wright brothers first flight in 1903.

At about 3:30 a.m., the twin, carbon-fiber rotor blades began spinning furiously, and the chopper, called Ingenuity, lifted off the surface of the Red Planet, reaching an altitude of about 10-feet, where it hovered, turned and landed softly in an autonomous flight that lasted just 30 seconds, the space agency said.

Inside the flight operations center at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, engineers broke into applausewhen confirmation of the flight arrived in a data burst that took about three hours to travel the 178 million miles from Mars to Earth.

The atmosphere in the room turned almost giddy when a still photo shot from the helicopter captured its shadow on the ground, followed by video of the aircraft’s flight.

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