NASA's Ingenuity Martian helicopter holds a small piece of fabric from the wing of the 1903 Wright Flyer, which was donated to the agency by Carillon Historical Park.
Wilbur and Orville made the first controlled, sustained flight on Earth of a powered, heavier-than-air, piloted machine on December 17, 1903. Soon, Ingenuity will be the first heavier-than-air aircraft to make the first powered, controlled, and sustained flight on another world.
A piece of the Wright brothers’ Kitty Hawk Flyer is set to take flight again—this time on Mars!
NASA’s Ingenuity Martian helicopter holds a small piece of the wing covering from the Wright Flyer I, the plane used by Wilbur and Orville Wright for their first successful flight in 1903.
Ingenuity, which made the 300 million-mile trip to Mars aboard the Perseverance rover, will attempt the flight no sooner than April 8. The wing fabric, which was donated to NASA by Dayton History, is wrapped with tape around a cable located underneath the helicopter’s solar panel.
"Carillon Historical Park is delighted to play a small part in this momentous occasion," said Brady Kress, President of Dayton History and Carillon Historical Park. "Our mission includes ‘inspiring the world.’ We hope this partnership with NASA helps do just that – inspiring our world by reaching beyond it."
NASA contacted Dayton History in 2019 to explore how the Wright brothers could be a part of the first flight on the red planet. They needed something that really would not add any weight to the helicopter, which needed to weigh less than four pounds. The wing fabric was a perfect choice.
This is not the first time the Wright Brothers’ legacy has been honored through NASA. In 1969, the Wright family gave Neil Armstrong a piece of the 1903 flyer fabric to take with him to the Moon. In 1998, Carillon Park and the family gave John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, a piece of the fabric to take with him on his flight in the Space Shuttle.