(ORDO NEWS) — The InSight module landed on Mars on November 26, 2018. His time is running out. Solar panels are covered with dust. There was almost no food left.
NASA says it is likely that InSight and its main instrument, the seismometer, will stop working in the coming weeks.
InSight has done a great job in the exploration of Mars: it has “looked” into the depths of the planet and recorded its seismic activity.
InSight did a great job. After his work, we clearly understand that Mars is a living planet – seismic activity has not died in its bowels
The day is approaching when NASA’s Mars InSight lander will go silent , ending its historic mission. The module’s power output continues to decline as dust settles on the solar panels.
The module team has taken every possible step to continue operating at the remaining capacity. But the end will come in the coming weeks.
Although the module is still operational, its operations team – 25-30 people, quite a bit compared to other Martian missions – has begun to take steps to gracefully complete the job.
The most important last step in InSight’s mission is to store the dataset and make it available to researchers around the world.
The data from the module provided detailed information about the inner layers of Mars, its liquid core, the remnants of a largely extinct magnetic field, the weather in this part of Mars, and a large number of marsquakes.
The InSight seismometer provided by the French National Center for Space Research (CNES) has detected more than 1,300 quakes since the lander landed in November 2018. The largest had a magnitude of 5.
InSight even recorded seismic vibrations from meteorite impacts. Watching how seismic waves from marsquakes change as they pass through the planet provides an invaluable glimpse into the interior of Mars and a better understanding of how all rocky worlds, including the Earth and the Moon, are formed.
Already in the summer, the lander had so little power left that the mission turned off all of InSight’s science instruments so that only the seismometer would continue to operate.
The scientists even disabled the fail-safe system that would otherwise automatically shut down the seismometer, as the lander’s power output is already dangerously low.
During the latest storm that was still dusting the solar panels, the team decided to turn off the seismometer entirely to save power.
When the storm ended, the seismometer was turned on. Now he is collecting data again, although everyone understands that the mission is coming to an end.
NASA will announce the end of the mission when InSight misses two consecutive communication sessions with the device in near-Martian orbit, which is part of the relay network. But even after that, the NASA Deep Space Network will listen to InSight for a while, just in case.
There will be no heroic measures to restore communication with InSight. While an event that will save the mission say, a strong gust of wind clearing the panels is not out of the question, the researchers consider it unlikely.
InSight remains in touch, the seismometer is working, the team continues to collect data. “We’ll be taking scientific measurements for as long as we can,” said Bruce Banerdt of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a member of the InSight team.
“We are at the mercy of Mars. The weather on Mars is not snow and rain, the weather on Mars is dust and wind.”
We have been following the work of InSight on the portal for all four years and devoted dozens of materials to its discoveries, difficulties and victories.
We say goodbye to the module. It’s a pity that today there is no one who would come up and just dust off his batteries. But let’s hope that everything is ahead.
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