Ingenuity, NASA’s Mars helicopter broadcasts its final message

 

It is the first powered aircraft to fly on another planet. Ingenuity will now serve as a fixed data collection unit on the surface of Mars.

The small Ingenuity helicopter sent to Mars by NASA has sent its last message to Earth and will from now on serve as a fixed unit to collect data on the surface of the red planet, the American agency announced this Tuesday, April 16 space.

In 2021, Ingenuity became the first motorized device to fly on another planet. He thus proved that it is possible to fly in Martian air with a density equivalent to only 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Aerial survey for the Perseverance rover

Weighing only 1.8 kg, the helicopter looked more like a large drone. In total, he traveled some 17 kilometers and flew to a height of 24 meters. Its total flight time is more than two hours.

It arrived on Mars in February 2021 with the Perseverance rover, for which it played the role of aerial explorer to help its wheeled companion look for possible signs of ancient microbial life.

 

“The Ingenuity team received the latest report from the #MarsHelicopter, which will now serve as a test base collecting data that could help future explorers of the Red Planet.”

Deployed 72 times

Ingenuity’s longevity was remarkable, especially considering that it had to survive the frigid Martian nights by keeping warm with solar panels that charged its batteries during the day.

The helicopter was originally supposed to take off only five times, but due to its very good performance, the mission was extended until January 2024. In total, it was deployed 72 times.

NASA announced on Monday that it is looking for ways to bring Perseverance rocks back to Earth more quickly and cheaply after criticism over the size of its budget.

The announcement, made during China’s Tianwen-3 mission to return samples from the red planet, is due to launch around 2030, according to state media, amid the rivalry between the two powers.

 

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