A unexplained blackout during which NASA’s Mars helicopter broke. It will never take off again now.

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    A unexplained blackout during which NASA’s Mars helicopter broke. It will never take off again now.

    Ingenuity, NASA’s Mars helicopter, allegedly shattered beyond repair following an enigmatic communication malfunction.

    It appears from the imagery that during the helicopter’s last trip, damage was sustained to at least one of its blades.

    By flying 72 times, ingenuity exceeded NASA’s most ambitious expectations. It was quite successful.

    After three years of flying about the surface of Mars, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has finally come to an end of its mission.

    The chopper inexplicably lost contact with NASA during its seventieth trip. NASA obtained photographs from the drone indicating one of the aircraft’s rotor blades was damaged when the agency restored contact the next day.

    At a press briefing on Thursday, NASA stated that it seemed likely that at least one of the blades struck the Martian surface.

    The log of what transpired is unavailable because communication was lost during Ingenuity’s descent. Put another way, Teddy Tzanetos, the project manager for Ingenuity, stated during the press conference that we’ll never know for sure what transpired.

    To acquire as much knowledge as possible, the Ingenuity team stated that it intends to keep examining the aerial data.

    On Mars, the Ingenuity helicopter is parked where the Perseverance rover left it. JPL-Caltech and NASA

    The Perseverance rover carried Ingenuity to Mars in February 2021, but NASA engineers weren’t even convinced the rover would make it past its first night on the planet, much less take off.

    Two months later, the inaugural flight of Ingenuity—which Perseverance has documented in the video below—made history. It was demonstrated for the first time that aerial exploration on a different planet was feasible by this 4-pound tissue-box-sized drone.

    As the helicopter team at NASA mission control received the initial data from that trip, MiMi Aung, the Ingenuity project manager, said, “We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet.” “We’ve been talking so long about our Wright brothers moment on Mars, and here it is.”

    NASA engineers expressed their happiness that Ingenuity functioned and their optimism that the rotorcraft could survive its five planned flights, most likely collapsing on the fifth and most challenging flight.

    Rather, the helicopter made it through more than 70 flights in almost three years.

    “During the press conference, Tzanetos stated that it was intended to last for thirty days.” He continued, saying that it was always in the back of their thoughts that “Today could be the last day.” “So emotionally, for the last 2.5 years we’ve been prepared for a sprint and then we had to transition to a marathon,” he remarked to that effect.

    When it made its maiden flight on Mars, it managed to take this picture of its shadow on the ground below. JPL-Caltech and NASA
    Continually surpassing expectations, ingenuity has proven to be one of NASA’s greatest engineering achievements to yet. It overcame mistakes made in midair and embarked on new objectives, such as scanning the terrain before Perseverance.

    Bill Nelson, Administrator of NASA, described the death of the helicopter as “bittersweet.”