Do you remember Ingenuity, the first ever helicopter on Mars?

The second of the large rovers on Mars (Perseverance) arrived on the ground of the red planet in early 2021. Two months later, an almost unwelcome passenger, a small helicopter called Ingenuity, took off on its short test mission.

It is the first extraterrestrial spacecraft that literally flew through the sky of another celestial body. According to the plan it was supposed to make five short flights, from which we would conclude what Mars is like.

Ingenuity was added to the Perseverance mission literally at the last moment. A good percentage of the people involved in this mission did not look too kindly at this addition.

In truth, the deployment of the helicopter really made the Perseverance rover’s primary mission more manageable. This time too, reality proved to be better than the wildest imaginations of scientists and technicians.

The helicopter survived on Mars almost three years in operational condition!

Seventy-two flights were successful, during which it stayed in the air for over two hours and covered a distance of over seventeen kilometers. Even the biggest optimists did not expect that this little flying robot would live this long.

The results and accumulated experience are so good that they will influence almost all future missions to Mars. It seems that the next missions will not be without some form of Martian flyer (helicopter, balloon-probe etc).

NASA announced two weeks ago that Ingenuity had completed its mission. The last flight performed by the robot led to the damage of one propeller, probably more. Due to the interruption and re-establishment of communication, photos from the helicopter have also arrived, showing that at least one propeller is missing a quarter of its material.

The cause is unknown, whether it was material fatigue, a side landing in which the propellers touched the ground, or a stone or part of the terrain caught on the propellers during the landing. Ingenuity also had in-flight problems on its previous flight at the beginning of the year.


Be that as it may, the first Mars helicopter is no longer flyable.

Goodbye and thank you Ingenuity! In the encyclopedias of our future civilization on Mars, this small machine will forever be the first of its kind.

But is it really the end-end? Electronics, radio communications, photovoltaic panels, batteries, sensors and the camera still work. When the Perseverance moves away, there will still be an option to communicate with the helicopter.

But will the engineering team get permission and try to spin the propellers again? In theory it could happen and we will stay tuned for updates on this once unwanted guest turned hero.

This helicopter cost millions of dollars which could be seen as a small price compared to the complete change of our paradigm of the possibility of flying in the atmosphere of Mars!

That is, if we are looking at the bigger picture and a future that is built on present day achievements. So what are your thoughts, was it worth it?

Want to read more about the universe? Visit our blog!

Visit our blog!

Glogovac Nevena-Nancy is a geodesy & geoinformatics engineer by trade and a wordsmith at heart. By holding onto fate’s rocky learning curve and her natural flair for the extraordinary, the worlds of science and creativity melted and unified into a singular path. Moreover, having been born on the same soil as the geniuses Nikola Tesla, Mihajlo Pupin and Milutin Milankovic provided an educational basis for Nevena to continue the voyages they had begun. Led simply by the curious need to discover more. A small but meaningful contribution to this personal endeavor has been joining forces with the visionary OSR team, where astrology and astronomy go back to their common roots, so 'If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.'