NASA Ends Mars Mission Insight
After more than four years on Mars, NASA decommissioned the InSight module. The US space agency said on Wednesday night that a team from the California control center had failed to communicate on two consecutive attempts. This indicates that the unit’s solar powered batteries can no longer provide sufficient power.
The reason for this is the Red Planet’s dust, which is getting thicker and thicker on the solar modules. NASA already announced on Tuesday that the probe may have returned its last image of Mars. It was said in November that the Insight would only have power for a few weeks.
Landed in 2018
The stationary probe arrived at Mars in November 2018 to measure seismic activity. It achieved its scientific goals after just over two years, so it was on “extended mission”. According to NASA, InSight recorded more than 1,300 earthquakes, which provide scientists with information about the internal structure of the planet. The main task now is to protect the amount of data and make it accessible to researchers around the world.
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) also participated in the landing mission with instrumentation and a scientific team. According to the DLR, “Insight” was the first purely geophysical mission to Mars. The last radio contact with Earth was made on December 15th.
The so-called Mars mole being developed in Germany was particularly well known during the mission. The self-drilling device, which was developed for the soft, sandy soil of Mars, has long struggled with the unexpectedly hard soils of its site. “The instrument finally managed to bury its 40-centimeter probe just below the surface and collect valuable data on the mechanical and thermal properties of the Martian soil in the process,” wrote DLR. It was originally planned to be five meters deep.