Quick Facts


Artist's concept of the Mars Helicopter
View, download and interact with the Ingenuity 3D model.
Name Ingenuity
Main Job A technology demonstration to test the first powered flight on Mars. The helicopter rode to Mars attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover.
Launch July 30, 2020, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Landed Feb. 18, 2021, Jezero Crater, Mars
Length of Mission Technology demonstration complete; transitioned to new operations demo phase
Fact Sheet | Press Kit

Taking Flight on Another World

Mars Helicopter with Perseverance rover in the background

The Mars Helicopter, Ingenuity, is a technology demonstration to test powered, controlled flight on another world for the first time. It hitched a ride to Mars on the Perseverance rover. Once the rover reached a suitable "airfield" location, it released Ingenuity to the surface so it could perform a series of test flights over a 30-Martian-day experimental window.

The helicopter completed its technology demonstration after three successful flights. For the first flight on April 19, 2021, Ingenuity took off, climbed to about 10 feet (3 meters) above the ground, hovered in the air briefly, completed a turn, and then landed. It was a major milestone: the very first powered, controlled flight in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars, and, in fact, the first such flight in any world beyond Earth. After that, the helicopter successfully performed additional experimental flights of incrementally farther distance and greater altitude.

With its tech demo complete, Ingenuity transitions to a new operations demonstration phase to explore how future rovers and aerial explorers can work together.

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5 Things to Know

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First test of powered flight on another planet.

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Built to be light and strong enough to stow away under the rover while on the way to Mars, and survive the harsh Martian environment after arriving on the surface. The helicopter weighs less than 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms).

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Powerful enough to lift off in the thin Mars atmosphere. The atmosphere of Mars is very thin: less than 1% the density of Earth's.

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The helicopter was designed to fly for up to 90 seconds, to distances of almost 980 feet (300 meters) at a time and about 10 to 15 feet from the ground. That's no small feat compared to the first 12-second flight of the Wright Brothers' airplane.

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The helicopter flies on its own, without human control. It must take off, fly, and land, with minimal commands from Earth sent in advance.

Flight Log

Flight Sol Date Horizontal Distance Max.
Altitude
Max. Groundspeed Duration Route of Flight
m ft m ft m/s mph seconds From To
1 58 April 19, 2021 0 0 3 ~10 0 0 39.1
Wright Brothers
Field
2 61 April 22, 2021 4 ~13 5 ~16 0.5 ~1 51.9
3 64 April 25, 2021 100 ~328 5 ~16 2 ~4.5 80.3
4 69 April 30, 2021 266 ~873 5 ~16 3.5 ~8 116.9
5 76 May 7, 2021 129 ~423 10 ~33 2 ~4.5 108.2 Wright Brothers Field Airfield B
6 91 May 22, 2021 215 ~705 10 ~33 4 ~9 139.9 Airfield B Airfield C
7 107 June 8, 2021 106 ~348 10 ~33 4 ~9 62.8 Airfield C Airfield D
8 120 June 21, 2021 160 ~525 10 ~33 4 ~9 77.4 Airfield D Airfield E
9 133 July 5, 2021 625 ~2051 10 ~33 5 ~11 166.4 Airfield E Airfield F
10 152 July 24, 2021 233 ~764 12 ~39 5 ~11 165.4 Airfield F Airfield G
11 163 Aug. 4, 2021 383 ~1257 12 ~39 5 ~11 130.9 Airfield G Airfield H
12 174 Aug. 16, 2021 450 ~1476 10 ~33 4.3 ~10 169.5 Airfield H
13 193 Sept. 4, 2021 210 ~689 8 ~26 3.3 ~7 160.5
14 241 Oct. 24, 2021 2 ~6.5 5 ~16 0.5 ~1 23.0
15 254 Nov. 6, 2021 407 ~1335 12 ~39 5 ~11 128.8 Airfield H Airfield F
16 268 Nov. 21, 2021 116 ~381 10 ~33 1.5 ~3 107.9 Airfield F Airfield J

Anatomy of the Mars Helicopter

'Hover' or 'click' on the orange dots to learn about the parts on the Mars Helicopter.

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Mars Helicopter Artist's Concept

Antennas

Radio antennas talk to Earth via the Mars 2020 rover and the Mars orbiters. x

Solar Panel

A solar panel helps keep the battery charged. x

Avionics & Body

Its avionics — or "brains" — help the helicopter function and navigate. The body has insulation and heaters to keep sensitive electronics warm and survive cold Martian nights. x

Sensors & Cameras

Sensors collect data on how fast the helicopter is traveling and in which direction. Cameras help the helicopter see. x

Blades

Made of carbon fiber foam core provide lift in the thin Mars atmosphere. x

Batteries

Batteries help power the helicopter. x

Legs

Ultra-light legs made of carbon fiber tubes help it land after flight. x

Tech Specs

Mass 1.8 kilograms
Weight 4 pounds on Earth; 1.5 pounds on Mars
Width Total length of rotors: ~4 feet (~1.2 meters) tip to tip
Power Solar panel charges Lithium-ion batteries, providing enough energy for one 90-second flight per Martian day (~350 Watts of average power during flight)
Blade span Just under 4 feet (1.2 meters)
Flight range Up to 980 feet (300 meters)
Flight altitude Up to 15 feet (5 meters)
Flight environment Thin atmosphere, less than 1% as dense as Earth's