Compared to the seven-month, 293-million-mile journey from Earth to Mars, a brief excursion 10 feet above the dusty surface of Mars might seem like an afterthought. But this was a trip for the record books: the first-ever powered flight on another planet. NASA's Ingenuity helicopter spun its blades and rose above Mars' Jezero Crater, where it arrived two months ago with the Perseverance rover. Team members at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge broke into applause hours before dawn Monday as they learned that Ingenuity had hit every mark in its planned flight -- spin-up, take-off, climb, hover, descent, landing, touchdown and spin-down -- without a hitch. NASA's Perseverance rover ready to search for signs of ancient life on Mars NASA's Perseverance rover ready to search for signs of ancient life on Mars If NASA's Perseverance rover lands safely on Mars, it will become the first space mission in nearly 45 years to directly search for signs of microbial life.