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NASA's Mars Helicopter Has Died

RIP

Brace yourself for tragic news.

We regret to inform you that NASA's Ingenuity helicopter, which has taken flight on Mars an incredible 72 times since its maiden voyage in April 2021, is no more.

In a statement, NASA confirmed that Ingenuity's historic mission is officially over, ending a historic and groundbreaking mission that has laid important groundwork for future missions to distant planets with flying colors.

"While the helicopter remains upright and in communication with ground controllers, imagery of its Jan 18 flight sent to Earth this week indicates one or more of its rotor blades sustained damage during landing and it is no longer capable of flight," the space agency's statement reads.

The little helicopter succumbed to damage to its rotor, NASA said.

Thanks Ingenuity

Ever since landing on the Red Planet over three years ago, Ingenuity has beaten all expectations.

Originally intended as a technology demonstration, the rotorcraft was designed to fly up to five times over 30 days.

On April 18, 2021, Ingenuity became the first manmade object to achieve powered, controlled flight on the surface of another planet.

And then it kept on flying, while staying in communication with its much larger companion, NASA's Perseverance rover.

In the end, the tiny aircraft "performed 72 flights, and flew more than 14 times farther than planned while logging more than two hours of total flight time," per NASA.

Fortunately, the little helicopter that could is getting a deserved sendoff from NASA administrator Bill Nelson himself.

"The historic journey of Ingenuity, the first aircraft on another planet, has come to end," he said in a statement. "That remarkable helicopter flew higher and farther than we ever imagined and helped NASA do what we do best – make the impossible, possible."

"Through missions like Ingenuity, NASA is paving the way for future flight in our solar system and smarter, safer human exploration to Mars and beyond," Nelson added.

"History’s first Mars helicopter will leave behind an indelible mark on the future of space exploration and will inspire fleets of aircraft on Mars — and other worlds — for decades to come," added project manager Teddy Tzanetos.

More on Ingenuity: NASA Says "Foreign Object Debris" Briefly Stuck to Its Mars Helicopter