Goodnight, sweet prince.
NASA's Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, has seen its last days of flight — but its friend, the Perseverance rover, hasn't said goodbye just yet.
Originally published earlier this month by NASA, the grainy raw images of Ingenuity sitting sadly in the sand ripples of Mars' Neretva Vallis river valley, cleaned up images of the little chopper that could were posted by German design student Simeon Schmauss on on X-formerly-Twitter and Flickr.
The enhanced displays, as Schmauss explained, were created when he pasted together six of the raw images, zoomed in on Ingenuity, and altered the image's colors "to approximately match what the human eye would see."
Ingenuity came to rest on a pretty steep slope. It's possible she may have tipped over, so the blades contacted the ground during landing. pic.twitter.com/XPr6lh1UjC
— Simeon Schmauß (@stim3on) February 5, 2024
Last month, NASA announced that the four-pound flyer, which was the first craft ever to fly on another world, had suffered ultimately fatal damage to its rotor blades as it flew its 72nd and final journey on the Red Planet. As the designer posited in his thread, it could be that Ingenuity took a tumble from the steep slope where it landed and majorly damaged its blades in the process.
During a livestreamed tribute out from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab last month, as reported by Space.com, Ingenuity team lead Teddy Tzanetos said the Earth-bound scientists announced that they were planning a death rattle of sorts, to see if they could make its dying wings "wiggle" a bit. There's no word about whether or not that was successful.
As NASA explained, Ingenuity was initially only supposed to make five flights to prove that it was possible to do so on another planet. The longer Ingenuity pushed on as a scout for Perseverance, the fonder folks at NASA — and at Futurism — grew of the helicopter, making its demise all the sadder.
"We couldn't be prouder or happier with how our little baby has done," Tzanetos said during the January 31 livestream. "It's been the mission of a lifetime for all of us."
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