NASA experts discussed a new era in space exploration Monday following the success of space flights by the Ingenuity Mars helicopter, which could set the stage for flight in other worlds. 

In a live discussion streamed on YouTube from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, Ingenuity pilot Johnny Lam said the helicopter can get into areas that other space robots or devices can't. 

"I think with the success of Ingenuity, we basically unlocked an aerial dimension to exploration," he said. "We can kind of reach some hard-to-reach areas, we can provide images, reconnaissance... the best path to traverse."


"Eventually all these things can also help with human exploration on Mars or other planets," he added. 

The space agency engineered its fourth Ingenuity flight on Mars last week. The four-pound spacecraft flew 436 feet south to collect aerial imagery of a possible new landing zone.

The next flight would be a one-way trip to a new landing site. The helicopter will eventually try to fly along with the Preservance Rover to test how it works as a scout. 

"The mission will provide inspiration," said Nishant Mehta, deputy lead for NASA's Dragonfly mobility system, from Maryland. "They'll aspire future ideas for planetary exploration and certainly push our boundaries even further."

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter unlocked its rotor blades, allowing them to spin freely, on April 7. 

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter unlocked its rotor blades, allowing them to spin freely, on April 7.  (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Dragonfly is the NASA mission to deliver rotorcraft to Titan, Saturn's moon, to look for signs of life. Its launch is scheduled for 2027. The machine is equipped with cameras.

The navigation cameras will collect one image per second, which is not "very often," Mehta said.

"We will be spending a lot of time optimizing what data we want to bring down, working with the scientists to figure out what's most interesting," he said. 

Ingenuity has two cameras but no video capability, Lam said. 

The biggest challenge for Ingenuity is the takeoff and landing, he added. To get it off the ground, a large amount of thrust is applied to get Ingenuity to the desired altitude. For landing, the helicopter descends at 1 meter per second, he said. 


Nishant said one of the greatest challenges for the Dragonfly Mission will be the temperature on the surface of Titan, which can drop to minus 300 degrees, he said. 

"Designing a lander that can survive those temperatures and operate in those temperatures is a challenge," he said. 

Fox News' Julia Musto contributed to this report.