Cape Canaveral, Fla. ( Associated Press) – After four years of lull in the red desert of Mars, it could be the end for NASA’s InSight rover.
The rover’s power levels have been declining for months due to a build-up of dust on the solar panels. Ground controllers at California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory knew the end was near, but NASA reported InSight did not respond to communications from Earth on Sunday.
“It is believed that InSight may be reaching the end of its operations,” NASA said late Monday. “It is unknown what caused the change in its energy.”
The team will continue to attempt to contact Insight, if possible.
InSight landed on Mars in 2018 and was the first spacecraft to document Marsquakes, ie earthquakes on Mars. He detected more than 1,300 marasisms with his French-made seismometer, including many caused by meteorite impacts. According to NASA, the earthquake most recently discovered by InSight shook the ground for at least six hours earlier this year.
Seismometer readings shed light on Mars’ interior.
Last week, scientists revealed that InSight had achieved another first: capturing a vortex of Martian dust not only in images, but also in sound. In a stroke of luck, the rotating dust column flew directly at the lander in 2021 while its microphone was on.
However, the only problems were found in the module’s other main equipment.
A German drilling tool, whose task is to measure the temperature of Mars’ interior, never went deeper than half a meter (a few feet), well below the estimated 5 meters (16 feet). He was presumed dead by NASA about two years ago.
NASA still has two active rovers on Mars: Curiosity, which has been cruising the surface since 2012, and Perseverance, which arrived early last year.
On Monday, InSight sent back its last picture from Mars. NASA shared a message on Twitter on behalf of the robot: “My battery is really low, this may be the last image I can send.”
“Don’t worry about me: my time here has been productive and quiet. I’ll maintain communication with my mission team if I can, but I’ll be out of signal soon. Thank you for being with me.” “.
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