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Part of Wright brothers' 1st airplane on NASA's Mars chopper

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On Mars, there is a fragment of the Wright Brothers' first aeroplane.

The space agency announced Tuesday that a tiny swatch of fabric from the 1903 Wright Flyer is housed in NASA's experimental Martian helicopter. 

The Perseverance rover hitched a ride to Mars with the Ingenuity helicopter, which arrived last month.

On April 8, human innovation will attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. It will be a "Wright brothers' moment," according to Bobby Braun, director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's planetary science division.

The postage-size piece of muslin from the plane's bottom left wing was donated to NASA by the Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio, the Wright's hometown.

According to park curator Steve Lucht, the swatch made the 300 million-mile trip to Mars with the blessing of the Wright brothers' great-grandniece and great-grandnephew.

"Wilbur and Orville Wright will be ecstatic to hear that a piece of their 1903 Wright Flyer I, the machine that launched the Space Age by a hair's breadth, would soar into history once more on Mars!" In a statement released by the park, Amanda Wright Lane and Stephen Wright said.

On Dec. 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville Wright was on board for the world's first powered, controlled flight. The brothers took turns flying that day, each carrying four flights.

A sliver of Wright In 1969, Neil Armstrong, the commander of Apollo 11, flew a flyer made of wood and fabric to the moon. In 1998, a swatch followed John Glenn into space on the space shuttle Discovery. Both astronauts hail from the state of Ohio.

NASA's 4-pound (1.8-kg) helicopter will attempt to climb 10 feet (3 metres) into the fragile Martian air on its first jump. Over a month, up to five increasingly higher and longer flights are scheduled.

The content is taped to a cable under the solar panel, perched on top of the helicopter-like a graduate's mortarboard.

For the time being, Ingenuity is still attached to the rover's belly. Over the weekend, a protective shield was removed, unveiling the spindly, long-legged chopper.

The rover's landing site in Jezero Crater is right next to the helicopter airfield. The rover will watch the test flights from afar before heading off on its mission: looking for ancient Martian existence signs. Rock samples will be saved and returned to Earth in the future.