NASA is really preparing to say goodbye to its InSight Lander after massive accumulations of dust have covered its solar panels, making it impossible for the lander to recharge its batteries to continue operating. These are probably the last two photographs captured of the lander on Mars.
Almost four years after its successful landing on Mars, two years on Mars, NASA’s Insight lander is running out of power. So, these photographs, released on October 30, may be the last photographs of the Martian surface and parts of the lander people on Earth will see. The photograph shows a partially dust-covered seismometer in the foreground. A second image shows the shovel of the lander removing soil from the Martian surface.
Wind-blown dust is thickening on the spacecraft’s solar panels. It causes its power generation to decline. Therefore, the team is taking steps to continue as long as possible. It is expected that the finale will take place within around ten days. Insight was launched to Mars on May 5, 2018. On November 26, the spacecraft reached the red planet. The lander has performed beyond expectations revealing incredible details about Mars, its weather, and, more importantly, its interior. The lander has also recorded the sound of hundreds of Marsquakes. InSight has helped scientists on Earth understand that Mars is still a dynamic planet.
“The day is coming when I will shut up, ending my nearly four Earth years (more than two Mars years) of studying the Red Planet. As my time on Mars draws to a close, my team is helping to ensure that scientists can make the most of everything I have collected,” reads a message posted on the mission’s Twitter account on November 1. And while we all knew InSight would eventually become inoperational due to the massive amount of dust covering its solar panels, everyone probably hoped that by some “miracle,” Martian winds would come to the rescue of InSight, blow off some of the dust, allowing the lander to recharge. Unfortunately, this has not happened, and mission scientists are preparing to say goodbye to a historic mission on the surface of Mars. You can access the raw images captured by InSight by visiting this link.