The aircraft, about the size of a tissue box, entered the annals of history by executing the inaugural powered flight on another celestial body. It accomplished this feat by hitching a ride beneath the Perseverance rover, which itself ascended from the Martian surface on April 19, 2021.


According to the space agency, NASA, the Ingenuity Mars helicopter has sent its last communication to Earth and will henceforth operate as a stationary data collection device on the surface of the red planet.

The team behind Ingenuity received their last transmission from the #MarsHelicopter, which will now function as a fixed testing platform, gathering data that holds potential benefits for future explorers of the Red Planet.

Initially designed solely to demonstrate the feasibility of flight in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars through five test flights, Ingenuity surpassed all anticipations.

It underwent a total of 72 deployments, accumulating over two hours of flight time through brief hops, surmounting challenges such as dust storms, hazardous landscapes, a malfunctioning sensor, and icy temperatures.

Its purpose shifted to serve as an airborne scout, aiding its wheeled counterpart in scouring the terrain for indications of ancient microbial life from an era billions of years ago, when Mars boasted a much more humid and temperate climate compared to its present conditions.

Crafted for operation during the Martian spring, its solar-powered heating mechanism couldn’t sustain operation throughout the winter nights. Consequently, the flight computer succumbed to freezing, prompting engineers to develop fresh protocols.

On Monday, NASA announced its efforts to expedite and streamline the return of Martian rocks collected by the Perseverance rover to Earth, aiming for a faster and more cost-effective approach. This move comes as the agency grapples with increasing criticism over significant budget overruns.

The initiative coincides with China’s advancements in developing a more straightforward “grab-and-go” sample return mission to Mars, projected for “around 2030,” as reported by state media. If successful, this endeavor would mark China as the first nation to accomplish such a feat.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by VercenXpress team and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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