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26 Jan, 2024
1 min time to read

The mission of NASA's Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, has come to its conclusion.

The first-ever rotorcraft to take flight in the atmosphere of another planet suffered damage to its blade during its last flight on January 18, 2024. Although the vehicle still maintains communications and is upright, NASA announced that the helicopter is "no longer capable of flight."

Over the course of three years on Mars, Ingenuity completed 72 flights, covering a distance 14 times farther than originally planned. The total flight time exceeded two hours. As NASA Administrator Bill Nelson points out, Ingenuity helped the agency achieve the impossible and served longer than anyone could have imagined.

Through such missions, NASA is paving the way for future flights throughout the Solar System, exploring Mars, and venturing beyond its boundaries.

Ingenuity arrived on Mars on February 18, 2021, attached to the belly of NASA's Perseverance rover, and lifted off from the Martian surface for the first time on April 19, proving that guided Mars flight is possible.

The primary task of the 1.8 kg rotorcraft was to demonstrate the feasibility of using such machines in the thin Martian atmosphere. It successfully demonstrated this during its first five flights in the spring of the same year. Afterward, NASA decided to extend the Ingenuity mission and utilize the helicopter as a scout for the Perseverance rover, which arrived on the planet to search for signs of ancient Martian life and collect samples of Martian soil.