NASA is about to find out what happened.
The mission team has received altimetry data confirming it flew this morning at 6:46 ET.
It is created to be mostly autonomous, so Nasa will not be able to control the helicopter remotely. The helicopter must conduct the entire flight autonomously.
If this flight works, four more flights will take place. Each of those flights would be increasingly hard, with the drone venturing higher and farther each time.
Next came the stunning color images of the helicopter descending back to the surface, taken by Perseverance, "the best host little Ingenuity could ever hope for", Aung said in thanking everyone. For Ingenuity, the delay is even longer as it must route its communications through the Perseverance rover.
These space drones could fly "over ravines, down canyons, up mountains", Josh Ravich, mechanical lead for the Ingenuity team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told Insider. "Well, you know, I'm hugging you virtually". Engineers on Earth were able to diagnose what was wrong and then send commands to Ingenuity that fixed the problem.
A short clip sent back by the Perseverance rover showed the four pound chopper grounded at first, hovering three meters above the Martian surface, then touching back down.
Scientists say the successful test could eventually help the space agency more quickly roam across Mars as it looks for signs of ancient life. That's where engineers like Ravich will be waiting anxiously to hear from the helicopter.
"Over the next month, the flights get progressively a little bit more advanced".
This is the first time a propelled vehicle has flown on another planet. Perseverance, meanwhile, is expected to record the flight from a nearby overlook.
Just minutes later, video footage from the Perseverance rover, captured from its vantage point 65 metres away, showed the successful flight, which reached a height of approximately three metres.
This will be the second attempt to get it in the air, after a "watchdog" timer glitch forced NASA to call off an April 11 test flight. That test involved spinning the helicopter's carbon-fiber blades at full speed while on the ground. Ingenuity was therefore made extremely light and given the power to turn those blades extremely fast - at over 2,500 revolutions per minute. That's necessary because Martian air has just 1% the density of Earth's atmosphere.
The livestream covering the test flight will kick off at 06:15 am EDT (10:15 am UTC). First, the helicopter dropped to the ground from the belly of Perseverence where it was stored for their interplanetary journey, and it has undergone several tests in preparation for today's first flight.
But even if Ingenuity only completes this first 10-foot hover, that will be a major achievement.
During Mimi Aung's speech, following the confirmation of the successful test flight, the NASA project manager also paid tribute to the vast power of data sharing, by reaching out to NASA's enormous remote work team and saying "I'm hugging you [all] virtually".
This post has been updated with new information.