NASA's Perseverance rover made a perfect Thursday landing on Mars and began its historic mission to seek out signs of ancient Martian life amid the ancient delta in the Jezero Crater. But the rover has a trick up its sleeve: The first (tiny) helicopter on Mars, called Ingenuity.
As a mission, Ingenuity is a test flight to set a precedent for future missions. But on its own, it doesn't do much. Weighing roughly 4 lbs (1.8 kg), the tiny helicopter's successful flight will open the doors for new scientific and commercial interests on Mars.
"The Wright Brothers showed that powered flight in Earth's atmosphere was possible, using an experimental aircraft," said Ingenuity's Chief Pilot Håvard Grip of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in a statement on the agency's website. "With Ingenuity, we're trying to do the same for Mars."
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