Here's something I bet you didn't know about the current NASA mission to Mars. Part of the Wright Brothers' first aircraft is going along for the ride.

NASA recently published a press release telling us that part of the wing fabric from Flyer 1, the first Wright Brothers glider that actually flew, is being used as part of the small helicopter NASA plans to fly on the red planet later this month.

It's not the first time that NASA has utilized bits and pieces of aviation history, they took another piece of cloth and a piece of wood from Flyer 1 on the Apollo 11 mission.

Here in Wichita Falls, we're no strangers to aviation history. Before there was Sheppard Air Force Base there was the Army Air Corp's Call Field, and the city actually owns a WW1 Jenny aircraft like those that pilots were trained in during the early days of aviation.

Dave Diamond

Our Jenny was moved ... OK, it was actually FLOWN ... from its previous location at Kickapoo Airport to the new Wichita Falls Regional Airport back in 2014 and I had the honor of being there with my camera. It's a very rare thing to be buzzed by a WW1 era Jenny in the 21st century.

Dave Diamond
Dave Diamond

That was our Jenny's final flight, but not its final mission. You can visit it almost any time at the Jenny To Jet Exhibit on permanent display at the Wichita Falls Regional Airport.

Museum of North Texas History via Facebook

The exhibit is maintained by the Museum of North Texas History and chronicles the history of Sheppard Air Force Base and military aviation taking you on a journey from Jenny to Jet.

Museum of North Texas History via Facebook

It's nice to know that NASA and Wichita Falls both have a love for aviation history.

The NASA Ingenuity helicopter should be flying over Mars sometime in the next few weeks.

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Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

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