The Ingenuity Mars helicopter completed the first controlled, powered flight on Mars today.
It’s fitting that the mission, an experimental companion to the Perseverance rover, carried a piece of history.
A postage stamp-size piece of muslin fabric that covered one of the wings from the Wright brothers’ Flyer 1 is attached to a cable beneath the helicopter’s solar panel.
A different piece of the wing’s material, known as “Pride of the West” – along with a splinter of wood from the Flyer — was flown on Apollo 11 in 1969, traveling to the moon and back.
The first powered, controlled flight on Earth took place aboard the Flyer near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, when Orville and Wilbur Wright flew 120 feet for 12 seconds in December 1903. History was made when the Wright brothers conducted four separate flights on Dec. 17, 1903, and each one was a little longer than the previous one.