NASA’s Mars helicopter flies high, fast, far and long. Here are the main statistics

Artist’s impression of the Ingenuity helicopter flying over Mars. NASA/JPL-Caltech / NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, has been banned from flying forever. But he accomplished a lot during his nearly three year adventure on the Red Planet.

It was only sent as a technology demonstration to see how well it would perform in the extremely thin Martian atmosphere. Five flights were planned over 30 days, but Ingenuity ultimately flew into the Martian skies 72 times and became the first craft to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet.

Of course, there were a few hiccups along the way, but they were all fixed by the mission team’s crack engineers based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

But the propeller damage that occurred during the helicopter’s last flight earlier this month was something that couldn’t be resolved with a software update, so Ingenuity’s flying days are truly over.

The 4-pound, 19-inch-tall craft worked so well that it ultimately helped NASA’s Perseverance rover in its efforts to uncover evidence of ancient microbial life on the red planet. This is done by using onboard cameras to provide aerial imagery that is used to locate areas of interest, and also to find safe and efficient routes for explorers when moving from one location to another.

The team also pushed Ingenuity to its limits to see what it could achieve in the Martian skies.

Here are the key statistics obtained from Ingenuity’s official flight records:

Total number of flights: 72

First flight: April 19, 2021 (hover only)

Last flight: January 18, 2024

Total time in the sky: 128.8 minutes

Total flying distance: 11 miles

Fastest speed: 10 meters per second on flights 62, 68, and 69

Farthest flight: 705 meters on flight 69

Highest flight: 24 meters (only hovering) on ​​flight 61

Longest time in the air: 169.5 seconds on flight 12

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