After more than four years on Mars, NASA has decommissioned the InSight lander. The US space agency said Wednesday night that a team from the California Control Center was unable to contact Insight on two consecutive attempts. She said this indicated that the batteries of the solar-powered unit could no longer provide enough power.
It may have been the last image sent back from Mars by Insight.Photo: Cornerstone
The reason for this is dust from the Red Planet, which is getting thicker and thicker on the solar modules. NASA already announced on Tuesday that the probe may have sent its last image of Mars. It was said back in November that Insight would only have power for a few weeks.
The stationary probe arrived at Mars in November 2018 to measure seismic activity. He achieved his science goals after just over two years, leaving him on an “extended assignment.” According to NASA, InSight has recorded more than 1,300 earthquakes, which give scientists information about the internal structure of the planet. The main task now is to secure the amount of data and make it accessible to researchers all over the world.
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) also participated in the lander mission with instrumentation and a science team. According to DLR, “Insight” was the first purely geophysical mission to Mars. The last radio contact with Earth was made on December 15th.
The so-called Mars mole being developed in Germany was particularly well known during the mission. The self-ramming device, which was developed for the soft, sandy soil of Mars, has long struggled with the unexpectedly hard soils at its site. “The instrument was finally able to bury its 40-centimetre probe just below the surface and collect valuable data on the mechanical and thermal properties of Martian soil in the process,” DLR wrote. It was originally planned to be five meters deep. (sda/dpa)
Pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope
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