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Sad Note For HAI... Ingenuity Helicopter's Resting Place Caught on Film

Littlest Bird's Broken Wings Show Result of Last Flight

Ingenuity, the Mars Helicopter, flew its last earlier this year, terminating a flight with an uncommanded and premature landing with telemetry cutting off soon after.

It was unknown exactly what happened to Ingenuity, or what state it was in following its last attempted flight, but a distant drive-by from its orbital companion, the Perseverance rover, provided a coda to the little helo's mission. Using the rover's SuperCam Remote Micro-Imager, NASA was able to get a good enough image of the helicopter from 1,500 feet away, creating a series of images of Neretva Vallis. Ingenuity's final resting place shows the little helo upright, with one rotor blade snapped off and flung off into the Martian dunes.

If anything, the broken rotor makes it all the more surprising that the little aircraft landed upright, if it indeed had broken off while attempting an altitude of 40 feet. NASA back home had worried that the aircraft was destroyed in some kind of fracas, given the lack of telemetry and abrupt end to its last flight. The knowledge gives them much to work with for the next aircraft, however, and Ingenuity's amazing track record shows just how far a small project can go when it's built with quality. 



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