The small “Ingenuity” helicopter that NASA sent to Mars is no longer flying. The US space agency said the plane suffered damage to “one or more” of the propeller blades.
The Mars helicopter “Ingenuity” landed on the Red Planet in February 2021 with the “Perseverance” rover. NASA announced Thursday that after 72 flights on Mars, Ingenuity is no longer able to fly. The small helicopter sustained damage to “one or more” of its propeller blades.
The Ingenuity Mars helicopter supported the Perseverance rover as “aerial reconnaissance” in searching for possible signs of life on Mars. The data collected by Creativity was sent back to Earth by Perseverance.
At the beginning of the mission, the original goal of the helicopter, which weighs only 1.8 kilograms, was to complete 50 flights on Mars within 30 days. He far exceeded this with his 72 flights. In all, “Creativity” covered more than 17 kilometers and reached heights of up to 24 metres.
Ingenuity reached an altitude of twelve meters on its final flight last week – but shortly before landing, the Mars rover Perseverance suddenly lost contact with the small helicopter. NASA experts were able to restore communication, but according to their findings, Ingenuity is no longer able to fly.
“What Ingenuity has done is far beyond anything we thought was possible,” NASA chief Bill Nelson said in a video. The small helicopter “opened the way for future travel in our solar system.”