Washington (AFP) – The US space agency, NASA, has announced that it has lost contact with its Insight probe. On Mars, after four years spent exploring the red planet.
The end of this mission was expected, as the remaining energy of the probe became low due to the Martian dust accumulated on the surface Its solar panels, which is what NASA had expected from the start.
“Farewell to a spacecraft always involves sadness,” NASA Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuken said in a statement. However, the amazing scientific results of Insight are cause for joy.”
Equipped with a highly sensitive French-made seismometer, Insight recorded more than 1,300 “shakes on Mars.” Some of them are caused by falling meteorites. A year ago, a meteorite fell that was so powerful that it caused icicles to scatter on the surface of Mars.
NASA received its last notification from Insight on December 15. Since then, the US agency has tried to contact him twice, but to no avail The conclusion is that the probe’s batteries are dead.
And NASA said in a statement that it is continuing to try to capture any notification, but this possibility is “unacceptable.” likely”. Thanks to the analysis of seismic waves traversing the planet, the mission provided additional information about the inner layers of Mars.
Scientists were able, for example, to confirm that the Martian core is liquid, and to determine the thickness of the Martian crust, which indicates It is less dense than previously thought.
The mission was extended as a result of a careful cleaning of the solar panels.
The “Insight” probe was landed on the surface of Mars in November 2018, and it was operated in cooperation with the Center. National Space Studies of France.
However, the mission failed to achieve one of its objectives, which is to plant a tool at a depth of a few meters under the surface of Mars to measure the planet’s temperature, but the composition of the soil at the landing site prevented this Implantation of the instrument as expected.
After it was installed at a depth of about 40 centimeters, the tool was able to provide “valuable data on the properties of physical and thermal conditions of the Martian soil,” according to what NASA confirmed.