Ingenuity Mars Helicopter: All you need to know

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is the first aircraft sent from Earth to successfully fly above the planet Mars.

The helicopter launched to Mars on July 30, 2020, at 7:50 a.m. EDT atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 541 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

During launch, the helicopter was attached to the belly of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, and they landed together at the Jezero Crater of Mars on February 18, 2021, at 3:55 p.m. EST.

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is still working. Till December 20, 2023, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has flown 69 flights since its first flight above the Mars planet on April 19, 2021.

An artist's concept of NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flying through the Martian skies
An artist’s concept of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flying through the Martian skies. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Facts about the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

Facts Details
WeightAbout 1.8 kilograms (4.0 pounds) on Earth, and about 0.68 kilograms (1.5 pounds) on Mars
Height0.49 meters or 19 inches (1.6 feet)
Rotor systemTwo 1.2-meter-long rotor blades that rotate counterclockwise with a spin of roughly 2,400 rpm
Body dimension5.4 inches by 7.7 inches by 6.4 inches (13.6 centimeters by 19.5 centimeters by 16.3 centimeters); four landing legs, each 1.26 feet (0.384 meters) long
PowerSolar array on top of the rotor system

Live location of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

The above interactive map shows the live location of NASA’s Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter at the Jezero Crater of Mars. (Map courtesy: NASA)

How can Ingenuity Mars helicopter fly on Mars?

The weight of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter (only 1.8 kilograms) is kept very low so that it can fly in the very thin atmosphere of the planet Mars with the help of its two 1.2 meter long rotor blades. Atmospheric pressure of Mars is only 1% compared to our Earth.

To keep the rotor system light, the blades are made of carbon fiber which can rotate 2400 times per minute.

Celebration of 50 flights

The Ingenuity Mars helicopter has completed 50 flights as of April 13, 2023.

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About the Author

Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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