The American space agency NASA announced the end of the Ingenuity helicopter mission on Mars due to damage to the blades, the agency said in a statement.
Images of the helicopter taken on January 18 and sent back to Earth show that it damaged one or more rotor blades during landing, NASA said.
According to agency head Bill Nelson, the small Ingenuity helicopter (measuring only about 20 centimeters with a blade span of up to 120 centimeters) “has flown higher and further than we ever imagined.”
“The historic journey of Ingenuity – the first aerial vehicle on another planet – has come to an end,” he said, adding that the helicopter had helped NASA “make the impossible possible.”
On January 18, 2024, it was supposed to make a short vertical takeoff, but during landing, NASA lost contact with the copter at an altitude of about a meter. The next day, communication was restored, but the helicopter could no longer take off.
After the mission is completed, the NASA team will conduct final tests of the helicopter’s systems and download remaining images and data from its internal memory. The Perseverance rover is currently too far away to attempt to photograph the helicopter, NASA says.
Ingenuity Mission to Mars – details
The Ingenuity helicopter served as a rover and reconnaissance vehicle for the Perseverance rover, which was sent to Mars in July 2020.
In 2021, NASA specialists decided to extend the mission of the Mars helicopter Ingenuity, delivered to Mars in February along with the Perseverance rover.