By T.K. Randall
December 22, 2022 · 6 comments
After four years of activity on the surface of Mars, NASA’s InSight mission has finally come to an end.
The lander (the name of which meaning ‘Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport’), has provided scientists with a wealth of information over the years.
Its primary instrument – a seismometer known as the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (or SEIS) – is designed to measure seismic activity on Mars and it has certainly achieved that goal, having detected several quakes including a Magnitude 5 tremor which was picked up relatively recently.
Earlier this year, though, it became apparent that the solar panels necessary to produce the electricity needed by the probe had become so covered in dust that it would soon be unable to function.
Now, following two failed attempts to communicate with the probe, NASA has finally declared that the InSight mission has officially come to an end some 7 days after it last received a message.
“I watched the launch and landing of this mission, and while saying goodbye to a spacecraft is always sad, the fascinating science InSight conducted is cause for celebration,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
“The seismic data alone from this Discovery Program mission offers tremendous insights not just into Mars but other rocky bodies, including Earth.”
Particularly poignant was the final message Tweeted by the mission’s official Twitter account:
“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. If I can keep talking to my mission team, I will – but I’ll be signing off here soon. Thanks for staying with me.”
A final photograph, which shows the probe’s dust-covered apparatus, was also included.
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. If I can keep talking to my mission team, I will – but I’ll be signing off here soon. Thanks for staying with me. pic.twitter.com/wkYKww15kQ
— NASA InSight (@NASAInSight) December 19, 2022
Source: NASA | Comments (6)