NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter prepared for flight on April 7, 2021.

NASA / JPL-Caltech

NASA successfully conducted the first controlled flight on another planet on Monday when its Mars helicopter Ingenuity flew a brief flight on another planet in what the agency dubbed “Wright Brothers Moment”.

“Ingenuity reports that it has performed spin-up, take-off, climb, hover, sink, land and spin-down,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory flight controllers said on the agency’s webcast.

The video from NASA’s Perseverance rover shows the Ingenuity helicopter turning, hovering, and then landing on Mars.

NASA / JPL-Caltech

Ingenuity weighs only four pounds and planned to fly to about 10 feet above the surface for 30 seconds. The helicopter’s rotors turned at more than 2,500 revolutions per minute and were much faster than a helicopter on Earth due to the thin atmosphere of the Martian environment.

The flight was autonomous as communications between NASA’s California site and the Martian surface are delayed by 15 minutes.

The helicopter arrived on Mars on NASA’s Perseverance rover, which landed on February 18 after a six-month journey. Persistence put the helicopter under the rover earlier this month, with NASA running a long list of pre-flight checks over the past two weeks. The persistence is expected to return images of the flight captured by the rover’s various cameras over the next few hours.