Official: NASA Mars lander shuts down after 4 years on Mars

(ORDO NEWS) — On Wednesday, NASA said goodbye to the InSight lander, which has spent four years exploring the interior of Mars.

The US space agency said that mission control was unable to contact the spacecraft in two consecutive attempts, leading to the conclusion that its solar panels had run out of energy.

“InSight may retire, but its legacy – and its discoveries from the interior of Mars – will live on,” NASA said.

The space agency has said it will continue to listen to a signal from a lander that last contacted Earth a week ago, but this is considered unlikely after months of Martian dust accumulating on its two solar panels, draining its power.

“We’ve thought of InSight as our friend and colleague on Mars for the past four years, so it’s hard to say goodbye,” said Bruce Banerdt, principal mission investigator at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

“But it was. deservedly retired.”

InSight was one of four missions currently on the Red Planet, along with the US rovers Perseverance and Curiosity and China‘s Zhurong.

He arrived on Mars. in November 2018 to study the interior of the planet and a seismometer made in France paved the way for great achievements.

Seismic waves, which differ depending on the materials through which they pass, give insight into the interior of the planet.

For example, scientists have been able to confirm that the core of Mars is liquid, and to determine the thickness of the Martian crust – less dense than previously thought, and probably consisting of three layers.

The lander gave detailed information about the weather on Mars and a large number of earthquakes.

His highly sensitive seismometer recorded 1319 marsquakes, some of which were caused by meteorite impacts.

“With InSight, seismology was the focus of a mission beyond the Earth for the first time since the Apollo missions, when astronauts took seismometers to the Moon,” said Philippe Lognon of the Institute for Physics of the Earth in Paris.

“We opened new horizons.”

NASA managed to expand the lander’s mission earlier this year, using its robotic arm and small dustpan to gently remove dust from solar panels.

However, not all of InSight’s scientific operations went smoothly, such as when a spike nicknamed the “mole” was unable to penetrate below the surface to measure the planet’s temperature due to the composition of the soil the robot landed on.

The probe, provided by the German Aerospace Center, was eventually buried just below the surface and provided valuable data on the physical and thermal properties of the Martian soil, according to NASA.

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