NASA's Mars exploration helicopter ``Ingenuity'' retires from active service due to rotor blade damage

It has been confirmed that the rotor blade of NASA's Mars exploration helicopter

Ingenuity, which attracted attention as the first aircraft to perform powered flight on a planet other than Earth, is damaged, making further flight impossible. The decision was made.

After Three Years on Mars, NASA's Ingenuity Helicopter Mission Ends - NASA

Ingenuity is the first aircraft in human history that was developed for powered flight on a planet other than Earth. Ingenuity landed on Mars with the Mars rover

Perseverance on February 19, 2021, separated from Perseverance on April 4, and successfully completed its first flight on April 20.

After that, Ingenuity steadily repeated flight experiments and succeeded in making 72 flights, which exceeded NASA's expectations. The total flight time was over two hours, and the flight distance was over 14 times the expected distance.

However, when NASA reviewed images sent to Earth the week of January 26, 2024, it found that at least one rotor blade was damaged upon landing, as recorded from the flight on January 18. Apparently he did. Based on this information, NASA determined that Ingenuity's future flights would be impossible.

According to records, Ingenuity performed a brief vertical flight on January 18, reaching a maximum altitude of 12 meters, hovering for approximately 4.5 seconds, and then began descending at a speed of 1 meter per second. However, Ingenuity lost contact with the rover, which served as a communications relay for the rotorcraft, about 1 meter above the ground. Communications were successfully resumed the next day, and a few days later images showing damage to the rotor blades were received. NASA explains that the cause of the loss of communication and the attitude at the time of landing are currently under investigation.

'Ingenuity's historic journey has come to an end,' said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. Through missions like Ingenuity, NASA is paving the way for future flights in our solar system and smarter, safer human exploration to Mars and beyond.' issued a statement.

Images taken by Ingenuity, which made a major contribution to Mars exploration, can be seen in the article below.

NASA's Mars helicopter 'Ingenuity' successfully completed its 28th flight, and a movie stitched together with aerial photos of Mars is also available - GIGAZINE

by Stuart Rankin

in Science, Posted by log1p_kr