Apr 19, 2024, 11:40 AM IST

NASA’s crashed Ingenuity helicopter has a ‘final gift’ for humanity, but we must find it on Mars.

Emily Horn

NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, after an amazing mission, is now set to make one last contribution from its location at the Martian surface. 

Scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California came together for a final time on 16 April, to review the final transmission of the first aircraft to be launched. 

Ingenuity, which arrived around three years ago has surpassed all expectations, completing 72 flights in over 1,000 Martian days. This was far more than the original 30-day, five-flight mission schedule. 

Even though Ingenuity's days of active flying came to an end after a sloppy landing caused damage to its rotors however, the helicopter continues serve as a vital stationary testbed. 

The team celebrated this change with a "Final Communication" chocolate cake, which commemorated the moment while they analyzed the data from the helicopter which is at 189 million miles. 

The most recent update to the software version Ingenuity permits it to gather and store data, such as daily temperature readings, as well as photos of the Martian surface. This can assist the future Mars missions. 

These data, which are crucial for studying Martian meteorological patterns as well as dust movements could help design the future spacecraft and vehicles designed to be used for Mars exploration. 

"Whenever humanity revisits Valinor Hills--whether it be with rovers, new aircraft, or astronauts--Ingenuity's last gift of data will be there," stated Teddy Tzanetos, Ingenuity's project manager at JPL. 

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