NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter captured this shot as it hovered over the Martian surface on April 19, 2021, during the first instance of powered, controlled flight on another planet. It used its navigation camera, which autonomously tracks the ground during flight. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Imagine Earning Frequent Flier Miles For This Historic Flight. Video Included.

A historic flight occurred yesterday, Monday, April 19, 2021 at 3:34 in the morning Eastern Daylight Time — a flight in which the craft reached an altitude of only ten feet and hovered in a stable position for 30 seconds prior to descending and landing, with a total flight time of 39.1 seconds.

Imagine Earning Frequent Flier Miles For This Historic Flight. Video Included.

One would probably earn 500 frequent flier loyalty program miles if the flight occurred with some airlines around the world — but this flight did not occur on planet Earth.

No — this flight occurred on Mars, as Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history to complete a powered, controlled flight on another planet. The Ingenuity team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States in Southern California operated the flight, which was recorded on video.

“As one of NASA’s technology demonstration projects, the 19.3-inch-tall (49-centimeter-tall) Ingenuity Mars Helicopter contains no science instruments inside its tissue-box-size fuselage. Instead, the 4-pound (1.8-kg) rotorcraft is intended to demonstrate whether future exploration of the Red Planet could include an aerial perspective”, according to this official press release from the agency. “This first flight was full of unknowns. The Red Planet has a significantly lower gravity – one-third that of Earth’s – and an extremely thin atmosphere with only 1% the pressure at the surface compared to our planet. This means there are relatively few air molecules with which Ingenuity’s two 4-foot-wide (1.2-meter-wide) rotor blades can interact to achieve flight. The helicopter contains unique components, as well as off-the-shelf-commercial parts – many from the smartphone industry – that were tested in deep space for the first time with this mission.”

The “airfield” on Mars which was used by Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has been named “Wright Brothers Field, in recognition of the ingenuity and innovation that continue to propel exploration” — and it is the first “airfield” to be named which is located on a planet other than Earth.

Summary

Would you consider traveling to Mars with no possibility of ever returning to Earth? The Mars One project proposed that possibility back in 2013 — and up to six groups of four people were already selected to become full-time employees and colonize Mars — but the program seems to be on an indefinite hold…

…so imagine how many frequent flier loyalty program miles one would earn on that flight, which would take approximately seven months to travel 173 million miles — not including bonus miles based on elite status and promotions, of course…

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter captured this shot as it hovered over the Martian surface on Monday, April 19, 2021, during the first instance of powered, controlled flight on another planet. It used its navigation camera, which autonomously tracks the ground during flight. Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States-California Institute of Technology.

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