The National Space Agency of the USA, NASA, announced the completion of the work on Mars of the robotic helicopter “Ingenuity” (Ingenuity). The helicopter became the first terrestrial aircraft, which on its own engine flew from place to place in the atmosphere of a second celestial body.
Ingenuity was delivered to Mars on February 18, 2021 by the Mars-2020 expedition together with the Perseverance rover. In three years, he made dozens of flights, significantly exceeding all the expectations of the developers.
The last, 72nd flight ended on January 18 due to damage to the main propeller.
“This is both sad and happy news: our little helicopter has finished flying on Mars,” announced NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. The video of the performance was shared on social networks.
The experiment, declared as a 30-day technological demonstration with a program of no more than five short-term flights, exceeded all expectations of the developers of the NASA laboratory near Los Angeles.
Ingenuity eventually buzzed over the surface of Mars at a distance 14 times greater than originally planned. In total, he stayed in the depleted atmosphere of the neighboring planet for more than two hours and flew 17 kilometers. The maximum height of ego flights reached 24 meters.
The propeller was delivered to Mars under the belly of the Perseverance rover, which descended to the surface of the planet three years ago in Lake Crater to collect soil samples for subsequent shipment of these samples to Earth.
The first modest flight of the device weighing 1.8 kilograms on April 19, 2021, lasting 39 seconds, became an outstanding achievement of interplanetary aviation, according to the Reuters agency.