NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter pushed aerodynamic limits during the final months of its mission, setting new records for speed, distance, and altitude. Hear from Ingenuity chief engineer Travis Brown on how the data the team collected could eventually be used in future rotorcraft designs. WATCH VIDEO
Engineers will go beyond the ends of the Earth to find more performance for future Mars helicopters. READ MORE
NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has completed 72 flights since first taking to the skies above the Red Planet on April 19, 2021, far exceeding its originally planned technology demonstration of up to five flights. The many highlights of Ingenuity's historic and successful activities on Mars include:
- The first aircraft to achieve powered, controlled flight on another planet, a feat that's been called a "Wright Brothers moment"
- Completing 128.8 flying minutes, covering 10.5 miles (17.0 km), and reaching altitudes as high as 78.7 ft (24.0 m)
- Successfully flying in the extremely thin Martian atmosphere
- Previewing areas of Mars of possible interest for the Perseverance rover to explore
- Paving the way for future aerial explorers at Mars and, potentially, other space destinations
Celebrate the Ingenuity helicopter with a postcard, photo, meme, poster, or GIF using the #ThanksIngenuity hashtag on social media.
View, download and interact with the Ingenuity 3D model.
|A technology demonstration to test the first powered flight on Mars. The helicopter rode to Mars attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover.
|July 30, 2020, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
|Feb. 18, 2021, Jezero Crater, Mars
|Length of Mission
|Technology demonstration completed; transitioned to new operations demo phase. Mission completed on Jan. 25, 2024.
|Fact Sheet | Press Kit
Anatomy of the Mars Helicopter
'Hover' or 'click' on the orange dots to learn about the parts on the Mars Helicopter.
Solar PanelA solar panel helped keep the battery charged. x
Avionics & BodyIts avionics — or "brains" — helped the helicopter function and navigate. The body has insulation and heaters to keep sensitive electronics warm and survive cold Martian nights. x
Sensors & CamerasSensors collected data on how fast the helicopter was traveling and in which direction. Cameras help the helicopter see. x
BladesMade of carbon fiber foam core to provide lift in the thin Mars atmosphere. x
BatteriesBatteries helped power the helicopter. x
LegsUltra-light legs made of carbon fiber tubes helped it land after flight. x
|4 pounds on Earth; 1.5 pounds on Mars
|Total length of rotors: ~4 feet (~1.2 meters) tip to tip
|Solar panel charges Lithium-ion batteries, providing enough energy for one 90-second flight per Martian day (~350 Watts of average power during flight)
|Just under 4 feet (1.2 meters)
|Up to 980 feet (300 meters)
|Up to 15 feet (5 meters)
|Thin atmosphere, less than 1% as dense as Earth's
By the Numbers
Note: Dates based on Pacific time zone at the time of Ingenuity's flight.