Google celebrates NASA Mars helicopter with soaring search Easter egg

Google search sets Ingenuity loose to zip around your screen.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
Enlarge Image

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter got a cute Google search tribute with this animated version of the Mars machine.

Google screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

On Monday, NASA notched up a win for space exploration with a successful flight of its Mars helicopter Ingenuity. The triumphant first powered, controlled flight on another planet had space fans celebrating. Google got in on the action with a search page Easter egg.

If you type "Ingenuity NASA" into Google search, a little orange-colored animated version of Ingenuity appears on the right side of the screen, rotors whirling. Click on it and the surface of Mars appears at the bottom of the screen. The little chopper buzzes around on top of the search results, all of which have a rosy hue.

Watch this: Watch NASA's Ingenuity helicopter fly on Mars

NASA pointed out the fun on Twitter. The Easter egg appears to be working in most browsers, both mobile and desktop. 

Google shared a GIF of the animated Ingenuity. "Ten vertical feet for a helicopter, one giant leap for space exploration," the company tweeted. "Congrats NASA Mars Helicopter on an amazing first flight!"

The actual mini-chopper hovered for less than a minute, but you can let the Google version do its thing for as long as you like.

NASA's small but ambitious experimental helicopter has proven that flight in the thin atmosphere of Mars is possible. The Google Ingenuity doppelganger taking flight in the nonexistent atmosphere of your browser is a lovely way to celebrate the occasion back on Earth.

Follow CNET's 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.