Ingenuity Mars helicopter yielded sweeping, low-level, imagery over its 72 flights.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The NASA Ingenuity Mars helicopter chalked up many a milestone during 72 airborne flights before incurring a destructive encounter with a sand dune. That “hit-the-dirt” mishap caused rotor-blade damage that now prevents it from additional aerial treks.

Ingenuity made use of commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) high-tech hardware.
(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Theodore Tzanetos)

Not only was Ingenuity’s flight experience exemplary, the rotorcraft achievements have opened the door for follow-on aerial craft to fly the friendly but thin atmospheric skies of the Red Planet.

As a technology demonstrator goal, Ingenuity was assigned the duty to make up to five flights over 30 days. But from its celebrated April 19, 2021 first voyage to its last airborne journey on January 18, 2024, Ingenuity pushed its self-made envelope in altitude attained, distance flown, and speed reached over those nearly three years.

A Mars craft concept is now being appraised, a Mars Science Hexacopter that is far larger and more capable than Ingenuity.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Theodore Tzanetos

For more information on what Ingenuity taught us…and what next thinking, go to my new story – “How NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter opened the Mars skies to exploration” – at:

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