NASA's Martian chopper, named Ingenuity, will take flight on the red planet some time in April, and attached to the helicopter is a fabric swatch from aeronautical history. A piece of muslin from the Wright brothers' first airplane has made the trip to Mars and will be part of the first helicopter ride there. NASA requested the historic artifact and the Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio, the Wrights' hometown, agreed to donate a stamp-size piece of fabric from the plane's bottom left wing.
This is a very symbolic and heart-warming gesture but if this unnecessary piece of fabric, which is taped to a cable (Taped??? Like duct-taped? Oh crap) beneath the helicopter's solar panel–if that damn tape or fabric interferes with the copter and is in any way the cause of its failure to fly on Mars and gather precious Martian rocks–I am going to be so pissed!
This is not the first time pieces of the Wright brother's plane have accompanied American space craft on important missions.
A fragment of Wright Flyer wood and fabric flew to the moon with Apollo 11′s Neil Armstrong in 1969. A swatch also accompanied John Glenn into orbit aboard space shuttle Discovery in 1998. Both astronauts were from Ohio.
Let's be forward-thinking here. If we keep jettisoning pieces of Wright brothers' planes into space there won't be anything left by the time we send our manned mission to Pluto, and then how silly will we all feel?