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A New Home for Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Prototype

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter prototype sits on a round, gray surface. Sunlight glints off of one of its blades. The blades are stacked vertically on a thin column. Four thin legs with white tips are attached to the column. A bundle of wires protrudes from the helicopter and rests on the table.
NASA/Joel Kowsky

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s aerial prototype is seen at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steve F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va, Dec. 15, 2023. The prototype, which was the first to prove it was possible to fly in a simulated Mars environment at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was donated to the museum.

Ingenuity’s history-making mission on Mars recently came to an end after one or more of its rotor blades sustained damage during landing, rendering it incapable of flight. Originally designed as a technology demonstration to perform up to five experimental test flights over 30 days, the first aircraft on another world operated from the Martian surface for almost three years, performed 72 flights, and flew more than 14 times farther than planned while logging more than two hours of total flight time.

Join the celebration of Ingenuity’s successful mission by using the #ThanksIngenuity hashtag on social media.

Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky