National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Lab successfully ran the historic first flight of the Mars Helicopter Ingenuity on Monday. To celebrate this first flight on the Red Planet, NASA has collaborated with Google for some fun activity that users of the internet can enjoy. If you type “Ingenuity NASA" or just “Ingenuity” on Google’s search bar, the results will show you the animated version of the mini helicopter on the right-hand side of the web page. If you click on the mini helicopter, a rugged surface of mars pops up from the bottom of the page and Ingenuity takes its flight across your screen. This fun animation might give users a chance to witness how the helicopter might have hovered over the Red Planet on Monday.
Ingenuity made its landing on Mars attached to the belly of NASA’s Perseverance Rover, in February this year. On Monday, the Space Flight Operations Facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory ran their first flight test of the mini helicopter on Mars. Powered by solar energy, the helicopter first became airborne at 3:34 a.m. EDT (1:04 pm IST) – 12:33 Local Mean Solar Time (Mars time) on Monday.
The Ingenuity team determined that at that time, the helicopter would have optimal energy and flight conditions. Ingenuity flew to its prescribed maximum altitude of 10 feet or three meters and maintained a stable hover for 30 seconds. The helicopter then touched back down on the surface of Mars after logging a total of 39.1 seconds of flight, reported NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.NASA had also collaborated with Australian pop star Sia ahead of Ingenuity’s first test flight. The singer released a music video for her song titled, Floating Through Space that had been written and performed to celebrate the upcoming test flight. The music video came out on April 7, and featured video clips of how Ingenuity started its journey on Earth through various tests, experiments and modifications by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Ingenuity was first going to take off on April 11, however, the date was shifted to April 19 considering the optimum weather conditions.