Ingenuity seen on August 2nd 2023. ©NASA/JPL/Caltech-ASU/MSSS

Jan 25, 2024

Mars helicopter Ingenuity to fly no more

NASA announced late on the 25th of January that its Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, would no longer fly. This comes after Ingenuity made an emergency landing during its seventy-second flight.

Ingenuity made its first flight back on the 19th of April 2021 after arriving on Mars with the Perseverance rover on the 18th of February 2021.

A view of Ingenuity's broken blade shadow on the 18th of January 2024. ©NASA/JPL-Caltech
A view of Ingenuity's broken blade shadow on the 18th of January 2024. ©NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA had planned for Ingenuity to make five flights over thirty days but Ingenuity exceeded all expectations and flew seventy-two times over almost three years.

The agency believes the blade made contact with the Martian surface causing it to break. Ingenuity has four blades made of carbon fiber to enable flight in Mars' thin atmosphere.

In a press release, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said the following;

“The historic journey of Ingenuity, the first aircraft on another planet, has come to an end,” – “That remarkable helicopter flew higher and farther than we ever imagined and helped NASA do what we do best – make the impossible, possible. Through missions like Ingenuity, NASA is paving the way for future flight in our solar system and smarter, safer human exploration to Mars and beyond.”

Ingenuity's teams are currently working on downloading the rest of the data and images to Earth along with some final tests not requiring flight.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory also released a video called #ThanksIngenuity to go along with the announcement, which is attached below.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory #ThanksIngenuity video.