February 23, 2024

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The amazing helicopter on Mars, Ingenuity, will no longer fly

The amazing helicopter on Mars, Ingenuity, will no longer fly
Ingenuity On Mars, as seen by the rover Perseverance“/>
Zoom in / Close view of cleverness On Mars, as he sees it perseverance rover.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University

Something has gone wrong at NASA cleverness Helicopter on Mars. Although the US space agency has not yet made any public announcements, a source told Ars that the brave flying vehicle had an accident on its final flight and broke one of its blades. It won't fly anymore. (Shortly after this article was published, NASA confirmed the end to clevernessa task).

When it launched to Mars more than three years ago, it was small cleverness The helicopter was an experimental mission, a challenge to NASA engineers to see if they could invent and build a vehicle that could perform powered flight on another world.

This was particularly difficult on Mars, which has a very thin atmosphere, with pressure less than 1% of that on Earth. The solution they landed on was a 4-pound, four-blade ultralight helicopter. It was hoped so cleverness It will make a few flights and provide NASA with some valuable test data.

But it turned out so cleverness He had other ideas. Since it was published by perseverance Rover In April 2021, the helicopter made an astonishing 72 flights. It spent more than two hours – 128.3 minutes to be precise – soaring through the thin Martian air. During that time, it flew 11 miles, or 17 kilometers, and performed invaluable scientific exploration and investigations. It was a huge win for NASA and JPL, and one of the greatest spaceflight stories of the decade.

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Get Mars years

However, the car has recently shown signs of aging. This is not surprising. The fragile little flying machine was exposed to the harsh Martian atmosphere for more than two and a half years, including bruising radiation, dust storms and wide temperature swings from extremely cold to rather warm.

One week ago, during a simple test flight, NASA lost contact with the Ingenuity rover for several hours. That's when she apparently broke one of her four blades. Later, mission operators restored communications via a request perseverance Rover to conduct long-term hearings for clevernessSignal.

Before that flight, on the helicopter's 71st flight in early January, the helicopter was supposed to travel a long distance of about 1,200 feet (358 meters), reach an altitude of 40 feet (12 meters) and spend approximately 125 seconds in the air. NASA sought to change the location of the helicopter for future missions to survey new areas on the surface of Mars. However, during that tripIngenuity He made an unplanned early landing.

Now, genius cleverness The helicopter will no longer fly. But just as people remember the 1903 Wright Flyer for its first sustained, powered flight on Earth, cleverness She will long be remembered for her contributions when humans sought flight on worlds beyond our own.