NASA ends the InSight mission that studied the interior of Mars

After four years on Martian soil, the insight mission of NASA on Mars has finished. During this time it has detected more than 1,300 marsquakes and meteorite impacts. Mission controllers at the Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) were unable to establish contact, for two consecutive times, with this lander, which led them to the conclusion that the solar batteries of the spacecraft have run out of power.

Although NASA will remain vigilant in case it occurs some sign of the module, it is considered “unlikely that their signals will be produced”, after their last communication on December 15.

The InSight module landed on Mars in 2018 and was designed to carry out scientific activities for two years, a useful life that has far exceeded

The InSight module landed on Mars in 2018 and was designed to carry out scientific activities for two years, a useful life that it has far exceeded.

He even kept making discoveries as the dust on his solar panels gradually reduced his energy levelsdata that scientists will use for years, NASA reported.

The agency’s director of science missions, Thomas Zurbuchennoted that “although saying goodbye to a spacecraft is always sad, the fascinating science that InSight has accomplished is cause for celebration.”

Zurbuchen referred, in particular, to the seismic data collected by this mission, which “by themselves offer enormous knowledge not only of Mars, but also of other rocky bodies, including Earth.”

Details about the inner layers of Mars

InSight set out to study the interior of Mars, and its data has provided details about its inner layers, weather, and much seismic activity. Their high sensitivity seismometeralong with daily ground-based monitoring detected 1,319 marsquakes, including those caused by meteoroid impacts, the largest of which unearthed boulder-sized chunks of ice late last year.

He has studied the interior of Mars and his data has provided details about its inner layers, the weather, and much seismic activity.

These impacts help scientists determine the age of the planet’s surface and seismometer data provide a way to study the crust, mantle and core of the planet.

In fact, the seismometer was the last scientific instrument to remain on as dust accumulated on the lander’s solar panels gradually reducing their power.

mechanical excavator problems

All missions to Mars face challenges, and InSight was no different, recalls NASA, referring to its mechanical excavator, designed to drill up to about five meters deep and measure the heat inside.

Designed for the loose, sandy soil of other missions, it couldn’t pull in the unexpected lumpy soil surrounding InSightso it only went as far as 40 centimeters, although it did collect “valuable data on the physical and thermal properties of the soil,” which are useful for future missions.

“We’ve thought of InSight as our friend and colleague on Mars for the past four years, so it’s hard to say goodbye”

Bruce Banerdt, NASA JPL Principal Investigator

At the end of the mission, the principal investigator Bruce Banerdtof JPL, noted: “We’ve thought of InSight as our friend and colleague on Mars for the past four years, so it’s hard to say goodbye,” but “it has earned its well-deserved retirement.”

The InSight mission had various European partners, including the Spanish Center for Astrobiology (CAB) that provided the wind and temperature sensors.