Space & Astronomy
NASA's Ingenuity Mars mission ends after rotor suffers damage
By T.K. Randall
January 27, 2024 · 5 comments
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS
The pint-sized helicopter exceeded everyone's wildest expectations having flown 72 missions over 3 years.
When NASA's Perseverance rover touched down on the surface of the Red Planet back in February 2021, it was carrying something that had never been seen on Mars before - an experimental autonomous helicopter drone known as Ingenuity.
Designed to test the waters for aerial vehicles on the Red Planet, the drone was only ever intended to fly on a few short test flights.
But then, something happened that nobody had expected - it kept going... and going.
In total, Ingenuity successfully achieved an incredible 72 flights over three years, cementing its place in the history books as the first ever aerial Martian explorer.
Sadly, though, its mission came to an abrupt end recently when it was forced to make an emergency landing which caused irreparable damage to its rotors, preventing it from ever flying again.
NASA administrator Bill Nelson, who described Ingenuity as "the little helicopter that could", recently celebrated its achievements in a video announcing that the mission had come to an end (see below).
"Ingenuity has paved the way for future flight in our solar system, and it's leading the way for smarter, safer human missions to Mars and beyond," he said.
"That remarkable helicopter flew higher and farther than we ever imagined and helped NASA do what we do best - make the impossible, possible."
Source: BBC News
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