Tech News

NASA’s InSight mission ends – a look back at the many achievements of the Mars lander • InNewCL

NASA’s InSight mission ends – a look back at the many achievements of the Mars lander • InNewCL

#NASAs #InSight #mission #ends #achievements #Mars #lander #InNewCL Welcome to InNewCL, here is the new story we have for you today:

Click Me To View Restricted Videos

Another Mars robot is preparing for a long, long sleep.

With the solar panels caked with dust, InSight has been losing the ability to charge for months — in the spring it was operating at just a tenth of its landing power. Now the thick layers of dust could have doomed InSight forever. NASA announced Dec. 19 that its InSight lander had not responded to communications from Earth, and “it is believed that InSight may have reached end of service.”

InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport, landed on Mars on November 26, 2018. His mission was to study the internal structure and composition of Mars over a period of 709 Martian sols (local Martian days). or 728 Earth days, primarily through seismographic records. Like many of NASA’s other Mars robots, the lander far exceeded the planned mission duration – 1,445 sols elapsed as of December 20.

InSight’s demise from dust was not unexpected. Due to space and weight constraints, the lander was not equipped with dust removal instruments and relied on the capricious Martian wind to clean its solar panels.

Mars Sunset

InSight captured this photo of a sunset on Mars on April 25, 2019. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In an April 25, 2022 press release announcing the extension of eight planetary science missions, including InSight, NASA wrote of the Mars lander: “The expanded mission will continue InSight seismic and weather monitoring when the spacecraft is healthy remain. However, due to dust accumulation on its solar panels, InSight’s power production is low and the mission is unlikely to continue operations for the duration of its current enhanced mission unless its solar panels are removed by a passing “dust devil” on Mars.” The atmosphere.”

Less than a month after extending InSight’s mission, NASA announced the expected timeline for the lander’s slowdown and possible end of the mission: December 2022, a very accurate prediction. “InSight has transformed our understanding of the interiors of rocky planets and set the stage for future missions,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, in the press release. “We can apply what we’ve learned about the internal structure of Mars to Earth, the Moon, Venus, and even rocky planets in other solar systems.”

Because power levels were so low this summer, the InSight team shut down all science instruments except for its seismometer, which was collecting data until at least October 22, 2022.

NASA intends to try contacting InSight again, but if the lander misses two consecutive communications, the team will officially declare the end of the mission. “After that, NASA’s Deep Space Network will be listening for a while, just in case,” NASA wrote in a Nov. 1 statement.

Before we say goodbye to the lander—you can even send a virtual postcard to InSight and his team to celebrate their success—let’s take a look back at the highlights of the mission.


When InSight launched on an Atlas V rocket on May 5, 2018, there were two other robots on board: CubeSats, nicknamed “WALL-E” and “EVE”. As part of the Mars Cube One (MarCO) mission, these briefcase-sized satellites demonstrated CubeSats’ ability to survive in space. They successfully relayed data from InSight back to Earth when it landed on Mars, and severed contact shortly thereafter.

InSight's SEIS instrument

InSight’s seismometer is located under a wind and heat shield. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Sound of Mars

Shortly after landing, InSight collected what its researchers called an “unplanned treat”: using the lander as a giant microphone to listen to the sounds of the Martian surface. It’s very quiet (as expected in a thin atmosphere) and mostly just wind (also as expected), but just hearing the surface of another world was exciting. Since then, we’ve also heard footage taken by the Ingenuity helicopter’s Perseverance rover. You can listen to the wind captured by InSight below:


On April 6, 2019, InSight made the first-ever recording of a marsquake — the Martian version of an earthquake — with its Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument. Since then, it has measured more than 1,300 marsquakes, including a magnitude 5 quake on May 4, 2022, the largest on record. Studying the Marsquake, researchers have found that the interior of Mars includes 12 to 23 miles (20 to 37 kilometers) of crust, a 969-mile-thick (1,560-kilometer-thick) mantle, and a molten core with a 1,830-kilometer (1,137-mile) radius. . Useful if we ever plan to do any mining operations there.

Magnetic “ghosts”

InSight carried the first magnetometer to Mars and used it to study rocks both on the surface and several miles below. In them, it discovered traces of the planet’s former magnetic field, which no longer exists today. These rocks showed strong magnetism, about 10 times stronger than scientists had anticipated based on previous satellite data.

Martian weather

Insight also served as a small Martian weather station, recording all sorts of atmospheric phenomena. The first audio recording of the Martian wind was made on December 1, 2018, and numerous pressure drops from passing “dust devils” or hurricanes were recorded. The public could even read InSight’s daily weather reports, which were published online up until October 25, 2020.

InSight's last selfie

InSight’s latest selfie shows a thick layer of dust on the solar panels. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Fight to the end

Although InSight was operating at extremely low power due to dust buildup on its solar panels, the lander monitored Mars seismic activity throughout the summer and into the fall. The SEIS instrument was the last operational instrument on lander and collected data until at least October 22. As of that date, InSight still had enough power to continue communicating with Earth, but it has now gone silent.

“Lander performance has been declining for months, as expected, and it is believed that InSight may have reached its end of life,” NASA wrote in an update.

On December 19, a NASA Twitter account for the lander sent What could be the last photo of the robot with the following message: “My energy is really low so this could be the last picture to send. Don’t worry about me though: my time here has been both productive and quiet. If I can continue to speak to my mission team, I will – but I will be unsubscribing here soon. Thank you for staying with me.”

After two or three decades of collecting more and more dust, InSight may meet humans again when astronauts land on Mars.

Click Here To Continue Reading From Source

Related Articles

Back to top button