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NASA flies helicopter on Mars

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Nasa has successfully flown a helicopter on the planet Mars.

Last week’s test flight was the first time in human history a helicopter was flown on another planet.

The helicopter – named Ingenuity – rose to about 3m, hovered, swiveled and then landed. The entire flight took around 40 seconds to complete.

There were cheers in the NASA control room as the first photos of the flight arrived back on Earth.

The Ingenuity helicopter travelled on Mars as part of the Mars Perseverance Rover.

Ingenuity has two cameras onboard. One that looks down towards the ground to help with navigation. While the second camera is a high-resolution colour camera that looks out to the horizon.

There will now be four more flights with the aim of flying the helicopter a little further each time.

Flying a helicopter is hard on Mars. The atmosphere is very thin which means the helicopter doesn’t have much air to work with so the rotors have to fly faster.

Two 1.2 metre long rotors spin in opposite directions at up to 2,500 rpm. This means the tips of the blades move at two-thirds the speed of sound.

2 Responses

  1. Cool!
    Their rovers have been on mars for so long that NASA were able to collect enough data to fly a helicopter over safely.

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