A groundbreaking Mars probe may have just sent home one last, haunting image

It’s almost time To say goodbye to another Martian friend. Plenty of missions have fallen silent to the Red Planet for the last time, some after many years of successful data collection and others after briefly free-falling as a fireball. We’ll soon be adding another Martian explorer to that ever-growing list – insight Maybe he sent his finished picture home.

The picture It is the same as the hundreds of others that the probe has sent to Earth over the past four years. In the center of the image is the rover’s seismometer, which it has been focusing on collecting data on concentrates whose data has been used in dozens of papers. However, in this image it is noticeably covered in the fine red dust that covers everything on the Red Planet.

This is the photo taken on November 6, 2022:

This dust also covers the InSight’s power supply. The solar panels have been covered collectively, and thus are able to provide less and less power to the lander itself. Unfortunately, InSight has also had good or bad luck in an area of ​​general calm for the Martian dust devils. While it can be difficult for the tools themselves to handle while it’s happening, dust devils also do a remarkably good job of cleaning up solar panels covered in dust.

Another fact gathering dust was the design decision the InSight team made at the start of the project. Various methods can help remove dust from solar panels. Compressed air blades and wiper blades similar to those found in automobiles are some of the most common types. But InSight engineers decided not to include any such system in their probe.

In another recent photo, InSight uses its robotic arms to remove some of the surrounding regolith.Credit – NASA/JPL-Caltech

Making these kinds of decisions is one of the hardest parts of engineering. Dust removal systems add weight and therefore cost more money, both to design and to deliver to Mars. Launch costs still eat up a significant amount of the project budget, so every system is scrutinized to see if it’s really necessary. In the case of Insight, the team determined that the dust removal system was not.

There was one critical factor that led to this decision – the relatively short duration of the Insight mission as a whole. It was planned to last only one year on Earth. It ended up with four.

What’s next for InSight

JPL video discussing InSight’s accomplishments. Credit – NASA JPL YouTube channel

Even without the dust removal system, the mission exceeded its original expectations. InSight has cemented its position as one of the most productive Mars probes to date. Its data was the basis for dozens of papers, and we’ve come to understand everything from the presence (or lack) of liquid water around the rover to finding some magma in the same area.

Data like this would make any science team proud, and the Insight participants had plenty of time to see the end coming. UT first reported its power problems in May. But while it’s been going strong over the past six months, it may soon be time to say goodbye to indoor exploration with seismic investigations, geodesy, and heat transport missions. It will not be forgotten, and may even be brought back to life one day when humans finally step onto landscapes hitherto unseen.

This article was originally published the universe today by Andy Tomaswick. Read the The original article is here.

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