NASA names Mars airfield ‘Wright Brothers Field’ 

By on April 19, 2021

Ingenuity makes first powered, controlled flight on another planet


Monday, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet. The Ingenuity team at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California confirmed the flight succeeded after receiving data from the helicopter via NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover at 6:46 a.m. EDT (3:46 a.m. PDT).

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter captured this shot as it hovered over the Martian surface on April 19, 2021, during the first instance of powered, controlled flight on another planet. It used its navigation camera, which autonomously tracks the ground during flight. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The solar-powered helicopter first became airborne at 3:34 a.m. EDT (12:34 a.m. PDT) – 12:33 Local Mean Solar Time (Mars time) – a time the Ingenuity team determined would have optimal energy and flight conditions. Altimeter data indicate Ingenuity climbed to its prescribed maximum altitude of 10 feet (3 meters) and maintained a stable hover for 30 seconds. It then descended, touching back down on the surface of Mars after logging a total of 39.1 seconds of flight.

NASA Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen announced the name for the Martian airfield on which the flight took place. “Now, 117 years after the Wright brothers succeeded in making the first flight on our planet, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has succeeded in performing this amazing feat on another world,” Zurbuchen said. “While these two iconic moments in aviation history may be separated by time and 173 million miles of space, they now will forever be linked. As an homage to the two innovative bicycle makers from Dayton, this first of many airfields on other worlds will now be known as Wright Brothers Field, in recognition of the ingenuity and innovation that continue to propel exploration.”





  • Marco Aurelio Martins

    They could at least share the tribute with the brazilian Santos Dummont, calling it Wright-Dummont Field, for example. Without disregarding the Wright brothers’ ingenuity, their device needed a catapult to help get off the ground, while Santos Dummont’s 14-BIS took off completely on its own.

    Monday, Apr 19 @ 10:28 am
  • Louie B

    Its people like Marco that are quickly making it useless to name anything after anybody. I’m sure this contraption has a wheel somewhere so let’s add in some credit to cavepeople. I kept it gender neutral so I wouldn’t make anybody angry ;-).

    Tuesday, Apr 20 @ 6:45 pm
  • Sandflea


    Tuesday, Apr 20 @ 8:26 pm