Published on: 
May 4, 2021

Episode 32 - Mars Helicopter and the Future of Extraterrestrial Flight

On April 19, the Ingenuity Mars helicopter became the first spacecraft to achieve powered, controlled flight on another world. This historic flight on Mars has implications for how we will explore other worlds. Join experts from the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter team and upcoming Dragonfly mission to learn about the future of extraterrestrial flight.   

Meet the guests:  

Mr. Johnny Lam is an Ingenuity Mars Helicopter pilot at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Mr. Lam always had an interest in math and science growing up, and enjoys getting to work on one-of-a-kind missions that are helping us to learn more about the universe. He is an avid frisbee player and has a family that is expecting their second baby soon. Mr. Lam has an exciting vision for how aerial vehicles could be used for exploration in the future. Watch the show to hear more about it!  

Mr. Nishant Mehta is the Deputy Lead for the Dragonfly Mobility System at John’s Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory. Mr. Mehta grew up surrounded by science fiction through books and television, these stories reinforced the notion that possibilities are endless with science. His favorite part of his job is knowing that he is working on something that will ultimately be on another planet to help humanity understand our universe better than before.  

Ms. Jia-Rui Cook is the News Events & Projects Supervisor at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and will be your host for this episode. As the child of immigrants, she has always been interested in American history and asking the question, “What does it mean to be American?” Working for NASA’s news and media team means she gets a front-row seat at this history in the making. In her role in the media office, she gets to help figure out how stories about first-of-their-kind accomplishments are told. When it comes to the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, Ms. Cook is amazed that the team could build something so light and powerful at the same time.