By: MILO BOYD
As of Monday April 19, NASA’s mars helicopter successfully landed its flight onto another planet, making it the first aircraft to be able to have a powered and controlled flight to another lunar surface.
Nasa members and people around the world cheer as they witness history in the making. One NASA member, MiMi Aung, proudly makes the statement, “We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet.” She also goes on to explain how this event can open us to be able to send robotic rovers, or possibly even human visitors to other planets.
The helicopter itself has two rotors that spin in opposite directions to help with flying and low gravity, a body, and four legs. However, don’t let this “simplistic” design fool you, as this was not an easy task to accomplish. Dr Daniel Brown, an astronomy expert at Nottingham Trent University, said “Flying on Mars is so challenging because its atmosphere at ground level is only 1% of that on Earth…not the usual altitude for helicopters to fly on Earth.” Precautions had to be placed such as having ultra-light with the blades rotating extremely fast and flying autonomously as they were far too far away on Earth to control it directly. Looking at the process, you can see the dedication, effort, and intelligence each member put into making this a possibility.
Nasa also decided to respect their roots, as they pay homage to the creators of the first aircraft ever made, deciding to name the airfield on which the flight took place “The Wright Brothers Field.” Commenting on the Wright brothers, Thomas Zurbuchen, Nasa’s associate administrator for science, said “Now, 117 years after the Wright brothers succeeded in making the first flight on our planet, Nasa’s Ingenuity helicopter has succeeded in performing this amazing feat on another world..While these two iconic moments in aviation history may be separated by time and 173m miles of space, they now will forever be linked.”
This successful flight will only be the beginning of a long road of new space exploration and discoverers. We will possibly see more and more advances in the future, and we’ll have this helicopter to thank for it.