I got up early this morning so I could tune in to NASA TV and watch the Mars helicopter drone, called Ingenuity, take it's first flight. It was airborne for less than a minute, and rose about 3m above the surface before swivelling and then landing, the first powered controlled flight by an aircraft on another world. And that world is an incredible 178 million miles away.
Ingenuity will be commanded to fly higher and further as NASA engineers test the limits of this amazing technology. One of the project leaders compared the success to the first flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright, at Kitty Hawk in 1903, and in fact, Ingenuity carried a tiny piece of fabric from one of the wings of the aircraft that made that historic flight more than 117 years ago.
I was cheering loudly along with all the NASA engineers.
Ingenuity arrived on Mars in the Mars Rover Perseverance in February 2021. I love the fact that they are called Ginnie and Percy by the funloving NASA people. You can read some of the technical stuff here.
Absolutely astonishing achievement.