On April 19, 2021, NASA flew the first helicopter in history on Mars. Ingenuity – the small, unmanned solar helicopter - rose 3 m over the ground and hovered in the thin Martian air for about 40 seconds. Ingenuity landed on Mars attached to the underside of the Perseverance rover on February 18, 2021. Before Ingenuity, the first flight on a planet beyond Earth was an unpowered balloon carried on Venus by the Soviet probe Vega 1, in 1985.
KAUST Assistant Professor Shinkyu Park joined the University in January 2021 to take up his new role as the principal investigator of Distributed Robotics and Autonomy Group. Before joining KAUST, Park was an associate research scholar at Princeton University, U.S., where he engaged in cross-departmental robotics projects.