The New Paper

April 19, 2021

NASA announces first autonomous flight on another planet

NASA announced today that its Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet. The solar-powered helicopter flew autonomously due to the time it takes for data to travel between Mars and Earth. The flight comes amid NASA’s latest Mars mission, which began with the Perseverance Rover landing in February.

Extra: Separately, NASA selected SpaceX to develop the first commercial “human lander” that will carry the next two Americans on the moon. The contract (part of NASA’s Artemis program) is valued at nearly $3B.
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