Without a propeller: Perseverance photographs the fallen Ingenuity Mars helicopter

The Perseverance rover has taken new pictures of the Ingenuity helicopter. They give a better understanding of the scale of the damage that led to the completion of its mission

Damaged Ingenuity drone. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP

The Ingenuity helicopter took to the skies of the red planet for the first time on April 19, 2021. Nominally, its program was intended for 5 flights and 30 days of operation. In reality, Ingenuity worked for almost two years and flew almost 17 km. 

The last, 72nd flight of the drone took place on January 18, 2024. It ended with an emergency landing, during which the vehicle damaged its blades. After studying the images and telemetry, the specialists of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory came to the conclusion that it was impossible to continue operating Ingenuity.

Over the following weeks, Ingenuity was targeted several times by the Perseverance rover camera. But this time it was photographed with a SupeCam. This made it possible to obtain a high-resolution image, which provided an opportunity to see previously unknown details. 

Damaged Ingenuity drone (processed image). Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/Simeon Schmauß

The picture showed that during the landing, Ingenuity completely lost one of the blades, which simply came off. Damage is noticeable at the ends of the other blades. These “wounds” sentenced the drone. The engineers simply had no options to continue its operation.

Earlier, we talked about the latest Ingenuity task.

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