NASA’s InSight lander sends its final image from Mars

The final image from NASA’s InSight lander shows the wind and thermal shield covering some of the science instruments. NASA

It has been known for some time that NASA’s InSight Lander vehicle has come to the end of its operations on Mars after four years of service. And his last contact with Earth seems to have just occurred.

The off-road vehicle’s ability to conserve power was affected by dust gradually accumulating on the vehicle’s two 7-foot-wide solar panels.

InSight’s Twitter account posted what was probably the last image of the red planet before the robot finally shut down, in a sad tweet this week.

“My strength is really low, so this may be the last image I can send,” InSight said in a tweet. “Don’t worry about me though: my time here has been productive and quiet. If I can keep talking to my mission team, I will – but I’ll be leaving soon. Thanks for staying with me.

My power is really low so this might be the last image I can post. Don’t worry about me though: my time here has been productive and quiet. If I can keep talking to my mission team, I will – but I’ll be leaving soon. Thanks for staying with me. pic.twitter.com/wkYKww15kQ

— NASA InSight (@NASAInSight) 19 December 2022

Inside another tweet Shared at the end of November, InSight said, “I was lucky enough to live on two planets. Four years ago, I arrived safely at the second, and my family was delighted with the first. Thank you to my team for taking me on this journey of discovery. I hope I have made you proud.”

NASA said Wednesday that when InSight missed two consecutive communications sessions with its Mars-orbiting spacecraft (part of the Mars Relay Network), it would officially announce the mission as long as the cause of the missed communications was the lander itself. After that, the space agency said the Deep Space Network would continue to listen for a while “just in case”.

InSight launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on May 5, 2018 and arrived at Mars six months later on November 26.

Unlike other Mars rovers such as Perseverance and Curiosity, InSight has no wheels and therefore remained in the same spot on Elysium Planitia for the entirety of its mission.

An illustration of NASA’s InSight lander with instruments deployed to the Martian surface. Many of the sensors used to study Martian weather can be seen on board, including the entrance of an air pressure sensor and east- and west-facing weather sensor booms.

NASA said that unlike the missions currently undertaken by rover vehicles, InSight’s science events are designed “more like a marathon than a sprint.”

The space agency added that over the past four years, “ground data has provided details about Mars’ inner layers, its liquid core, the surprisingly variable remnants below the surface of its mostly extinct magnetic field, the weather in this area of ​​Mars.” lots of earthquake activity.”

Bruce Banerdt, principal investigator of the InSight mission, said earlier this year that one of the robot’s legacies was “to truly prove the technique of seismology for planetary science,” adding: “We’ve been able to map the interior of Mars for the first time in history.”

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