NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has flown for the last time after breaking a rotor blade. The small vehicle took its final trip on 18 January, but a picture sent to Earth this week shows the shadow of a damaged rotor.
NASA, who announced the end of the mission for Ingenuity on Thursday (January 25), said the “history-making Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has ended its mission at the Red Planet after surpassing expectations and making dozens more flights than planned.
“While the helicopter remains upright and in communication with ground controllers, imagery of its Jan. 18 flight sent to Earth this week indicates one or more of its rotor blades sustained damage during landing and it is no longer capable of flight,” said NASA.
Originally designed as a technology demonstration to perform up to five experimental test flights over 30 days, the first aircraft on another world to operate from the Martian surface for almost three years.
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is seen Aug. 2, 2023. (NASA/JPL- CALTECH VIA SWNS.
It performed 72 flights and flew more than 14 times farther than planned while logging more than two hours of total flight time. “The historic journey of Ingenuity, the first aircraft on another planet, has come to end,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “That remarkable helicopter flew higher and farther than we ever imagined and helped NASA do what we do best – make the impossible, possible. Through missions like Ingenuity, NASA is paving the way for future flight in our solar system and smarter, safer human exploration to Mars and beyond.”
A picture posted on the Perseverance Mars Rover X (formerly Twitter) account shows the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter and rover with the message: “The sols won’t be the same without the #MarsHelicopter. #ThanksIngenuity, for being my partner in exploration from the very beginning.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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