Flight Test

Mars helicopter: 13 astounding images show Ingenuity's first sols

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter is set to make a giant leap for robotkind — if all goes according to plan, it will be the first powered, guided aircraft ever to fly on another world.

We’re tracing Ingenuity’s trip from Earth to Mars, as told in photos, animations, and even selfies from the Martian surface.

December 3, 2018

The Mars Helicopter team poses for a photo with a model of Ingenuity outside its home at JPL.


February 1, 2019

Mars Helicopter team members inspect Ingenuity inside JPL’s Space Simulator vacuum chamber.

April 2019

Engineers test the Mars Helicopter Delivery System, which will deploy Ingenuity from Perseverance’s belly to the surface of Mars.

October 1, 2019

Ingenuity and Perseverance finish a weeks-long test under Mars-like conditions in a vacuum chamber at JPL. During the test, Ingenuity stretched its wings (and motors) just as it would be deployed on Mars.

January 15, 2020

Ingenuity is fitted with a small swatch of cloth from the wing of the Wright Brothers’ first airplane. The material came from the Wright Brothers National Museum in Dayton, Ohio.


July 30, 2020

Perseverance and Ingenuity launch toward Mars aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

February 18, 2021

Perseverance and Ingenuity land safely on Mars after their 293-million-mile, 203-day journey from Earth.


April 5, 2021

Ingenuity gets a closeup, captured by Perseverance’s zoomable Mastcam-Z cameras.

March 30, 2021

Ingenuity stretches its legs before being dropped from Perseverance onto the surface of Mars.

April 3, 2021

Ingenuity takes its first color photo of the Martian surface from underneath the Perseverance rover.

April 4, 2021

Ingenuity sits on its own on the Martian surface after being deployed.

April 6, 2021

Perseverance snaps a parting selfie with Ingenuity (composed of 62 individual shots stitched together) ahead of the helicopter’s historic flight this weekend.

April 7, 2021

Ingenuity spins its rotors in preparation for its flight.

Read more stories on NASA here.

Thanks for reading,
head home for more!