The dying days of NASA’s Mars InSight Lander

By Scoop
May 19, 2022 · less than 3 min read

After more than three years on the Red Planet, the lander is making its final rounds.  

Dust yourself off 

Wow. That Mars dust must’ve crept right into our eyes. Just because it’s a robot, that doesn’t mean the impending death of NASA’s Mars lander isn’t a little emotional. We’ve all seen WALL-E, right?  

More than three years after landing, and a heck of a lot of exploring, InSight is slowly dying a death. A build-up of dust on its solar panels means it’s slowly being starved of power. So, it’s time to say goodbye. Barring a freak weather event that completely cleans InSight up, we’ll be saying a final farewell to our favorite space robot later this year.  

RIP to a real one 

For the past several years, InSight has played a key role in explorations of the Red Planet. “We’ve been obtaining some unprecedented data on the deep interior of Mars, as well as its weather and magnetic fields,” said Bruce Banerdt, InSight’s principal investigator. “Even as we’re starting to get close to the end of our mission, Mars is still giving us some really amazing things to see.”  

In fact, just weeks earlier, InSight measured a magnitude 5 ‘marsquake’– the biggest earthquake ever detected on another planet, which Banerdt called “the biggest event of the mission.” InSight has been leading the first mission designed to study Mars’ interior, and in its time on the Red Planet has recorded more than 1,300 marsquakes.  

So, as the sun sets on the InSight mission, we wave goodbye to a real one. Yeah, we knew that Mars dust would get you too.   

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