Part of the Wright Brothers’ first plane on NASA’s Mars helicopter

Part of the Wright Brothers' first plane on NASA's Mars helicopter

CAP CANAVERAL, FLA. – A piece of the Wright Brothers’ first plane is on Mars.
NASA’s experimental Martian helicopter contains a small tissue sample from the 1903 Wright Flyer, the space agency revealed on Tuesday. The helicopter, named Ingenuity, hitchhiked the Red Planet with the Perseverance rover, which arrived last month.

Ingenuity will attempt the first powered and controlled flight on another planet no earlier than April 8. It will mark a “Wright Brothers moment,” noted Bobby Braun, director of planetary science at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio, the hometown of the Wrights, donated the postage-paid waist piece of muslin from the lower left wing of the plane, at the request of NASA.

The Shade made the 300 million mile trip to Mars with the blessing of the Wright brothers’ great-great-niece and great-grand-nephew, park curator Steve Lucht said.

“Wilbur and Orville Wright would be happy to know that a little piece of their 1903 Wright Flyer I, the machine that launched the space age by barely a quarter of a mile, will make history again on Mars. ! Amanda Wright Lane and Stephen Wright said in a statement provided by the park.

Orville Wright was on board for the world’s first powered and controlled flight on December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The brothers took turns, making four flights that day.

A piece of wood and fabric Wright Flyer flew to the moon with Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong in 1969. A sample also accompanied John Glenn into orbit aboard Space Shuttle Discovery in 1998. Both astronauts were from the United States. Ohio.

NASA’s 4-pound (1.8 kilogram) helicopter will attempt to rise 3 meters into extremely thin Martian air on its first jump. Up to five increasingly long and longer flights are scheduled in a month.

The material is glued to a cable under the helicopter’s solar panel, which is perched on top like a graduate’s mortar.

For now, ingenuity remains attached to the belly of the rover. A protective shield fell over the weekend, exposing the tinny and leggy helicopter.

The helicopter airfield sits right next to the rover’s landing site in Jezero Crater. The rover will observe test flights from a distant perch, before setting off on its own mission: to search for signs of ancient Martian life. Rock samples will be set aside for possible return to Earth.


The Associated Press’s Department of Health and Science receives support from the Department of Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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