NASA’s InSight lander may have sent its last image from Mars – Times of India

NASA‘s InSight lander has sent what could be its last message from Mars before ending its mission to study the secrets of the Red Planet interior and evolution. The rover was sent to measure marsquakes – similar to earthquakes on Earth.
“My power’s really low, so this may be the last image I can send. Don’t worry about me though: my time here has been both productive and serene,” NASA’s InSight Mars lander said in the tweet which also has a photo of the martian surface captured by the lander.

What’s InSight lander’s mission?
The InSight lander is a robot seismologist that successfully landed on the surface of Mars on November 26, 2018 on Elysium Planitia. Its mission was to study marsquakes – rumblings on Mars similar to rumblings on Earth we call earthquakes.
Since its deployment, the lander sent data of over 1,300 seismic events back to Earth and more than 50 of them had clear enough signals for scientists to understand what’s under the surface and study the red planet’s core.
“InSight has transformed our understanding of the interiors of rocky planets and set the stage for future missions. We can apply what we’ve learned about Mars’ inner structure to Earth, the Moon, Venus, and even rocky planets in other solar systems,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division.

Why is InSight Mars lander shutting down?
InSight lander’s solar panels produced around 5,000 watt-hours of power on each Martian day (equivalent to 24 hours, 37 minutes and 22 seconds Earth day), or sol. The panels are reportedly producing 10 times less than 500 power. Furthermore , a thick layer of martian dust has settled over the solar panels gradually cutting its source of power generation.
NASA could have put a solution (wiper, blower, etc.) to remove dust off the solar panels, however, a system like that “would have added cost, mass, and complexity. The simplest, most cost-effective way to meet goals was to bring solar panels big enough to power [the] whole mission.”
“Time may be short for me, but I’ll keep sending back science for as long as I can,” it tweeted on November 23. NASA will declare the mission over when InSight misses two check-ins with the spacecraft orbiting Mars that sends its information from the lander to Earth. NASA will put the lander’s robotic arm in its resting position (called the “retirement pose”) once the mission is over.

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