NASA's Mars helicopter says goodbye: Check Top 5 videos to relive its history - Hindustan Times
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NASA's Mars helicopter says goodbye: Check Top 5 videos to relive its history

Apr 17, 2024 11:08 PM IST

NASA's Mars Ingenuity helicopter intended for five test runs, completed a total of 72 flights.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter has sent its final message to Earth and will now serve as a stationary data-gathering unit on the red planet's surface, the space agency announced.

NASA's Mars Ingenuity helicopter hovers above the surface of the planet during its second flight on April 22, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS via AP, File)
NASA's Mars Ingenuity helicopter hovers above the surface of the planet during its second flight on April 22, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS via AP, File)

The aircraft, the size of a tissue box, made history with the first powered flight on another planet after hitching a ride under the Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars on April 19, 2021.

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Originally intended for five test runs, Ingenuity completed a total of 72 flights, defying expectations and logging over two hours of flight time. Its mission evolved to assist in searching for signs of ancient microbial life.

NASA is now working on expedited plans to bring Martian rock samples back to Earth amid criticism for budget overruns.

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Watch: How the helicopter was deployed

A series of images captured from March 26 to April 3, 2021, depicts the deployment process of NASA's Ingenuity helicopter from the underside of the Perseverance Mars rover. The final image in the sequence displays the helicopter positioned on the Martian surface, following the rover's movement approximately 4 meters away.

Watch: First flight video

NASA's Perseverance rover captured history as its Ingenuity Mars Helicopter achieved the first powered flight on another planet on April 19, 2021. Positioned at "Van Zyl Overlook" in Mars' Jezero Crater, the rover documented the flight with its cameras. Ingenuity climbed to 3 meters, hovered briefly, then landed safely.

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Check: Clicking Perseverance rover's landing site

During its 26th flight on Mars on April 19, 2022, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter captured this image of the Perseverance rover's backshell (left of centre), supersonic parachute (far right), and related debris. The photo was taken from an altitude of 8 meters.

Watch: Record-breaking speed achieved

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter's navigation camera captured stunning footage of its 25th flight, a record-breaking journey on April 8, 2022. Travelling 704 meters at 5.5 meters per second, it marked the rotorcraft's longest and fastest flight on the Red Planet at that time.

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Record altitude reached

During its 59th flight, Ingenuity hovered at various altitudes to analyze Martian wind patterns. It reached a peak altitude of 20 metres, setting a new record for the helicopter yet. During Flight 61, Ingenuity soared to a new altitude record of 24 meters while analysing Martian wind patterns. Following that, Flight 62 saw Ingenuity achieve a speed record of 10 meters per second as it scouted a location for the Perseverance rover’s science team.

NASA, earlier in January, announced that the chopper can no longer fly because of rotor blade damage and now it has sent its last message.

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