Perhaps the pioneering Mars probe has just sent out a painful final photo

It’s almost time Say goodbye to another Martian friend. Several missions to the Red Planet vanished for the last time, some after many years of successful data collection and others shortly after free-falling like a fireball. We will soon add another Mars explorer to this ever-growing list – insight He could have sent his final picture home.

The picture itself is similar to hundreds of others that the probe has returned to Earth over the past four years. In the center of the image is the vehicle’s seismometer, which focused on collecting data on it profit margins And whose data has been used in dozens of articles. However, in this image it is visibly 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 power supply. The solar panels are covered en masse and, therefore, are able to provide less and less power to the lander itself. Unfortunately, InSight was also lucky or unlucky to be caught in an area of ​​general tranquility for the Martian Dust Demons. While it can be difficult for the tools themselves to handle while they’re performing, the Dust Devils also do a great job of cleaning dust-covered solar panels.

Another factor driving the buildup of 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 cars are the most common types. But InSight engineers decided not to include such a system in their probe.

In another recent photo, InSight uses its robotic arms to scrape some regolith around it.Credit – NASA/JPL-Caltech

Making these kinds of decisions is one of the hardest parts of engineering. Dust collection systems add weight and therefore cost more, both in design and in transportation to Mars. Launch costs are always a large part of a project’s budget, so each system is reviewed to see if it is really needed. In the case of Insight, the team determined that the dust-collecting system was not.

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

What’s next for InSight

JPL video of InSight’s achievements. Credit – NASA JPL YouTube Channel

Even without the dust collection system, the mission exceeded its initial expectations. Insight has cemented its position as one of the most prolific 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 thereof) of liquid water around the probe to the discovery of 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 issues in May. But, even though it has continued to grow over the past six months, it may soon be time to finally say goodbye to inland exploration with the help of seismic and geodesy surveys, transmission and heat missions. He will not be forgotten and may be brought back to life one day when man finally walks through the landscape he is the only one he has seen so far.

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

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