autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 

NASA InSight to Die on the Job, Engulfed in Martian Quakes

Soon enough, another piece of hardware we humans have on Mars will join the growing list of dead hunks of metal and other materials being eaten away by the reddish Martian dust.
NASA InSight 8 photos
NASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on MarsNASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on MarsNASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on MarsNASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on MarsNASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on MarsNASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on MarsNASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on Mars
Back in 2018, NASA launched something we all came to know as the InSight. That’s an acronym for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, a name that pretty much explains what the tool was required to do: study the deep interior of the planet, including by recording marsquakes.

Since its arrival in the Elysium Planitia region of Mars back in late 2018, the lander sent back close to 6,600 raw images of the place it landed in, and detected a series of mammoth quakes. The most recent one, announced back on May 22, had a magnitude of 5, and even if that may not seem much by human standards, it is to date “the biggest ever detected on another planet.”

In all, some 1,300 quakes have been picked up by InSight, but the American space agency is so hungry for more that it’s willing to push the hardware harder, even if that ends up literally killing it faster.

You see, the InSight gets its power from solar panels and a lithium-ion battery, but because of the dust that deposited on the panels, they are not in the same shape they were when InSIght landed and are now working at about one-tenth capacity.

Knowing that, NASA had already instructed the lander to shut down the seismometer by the end of this month, in a bid to keep the lander running for longer, but at idle. This week though, the agency had a change of heart.

Under the new plan, the seismometer will work overtime, using battery power, until the end of August or early September, in the hopes some more quakes could be added to the collection. This will effectually kill off the InSIght once battery power is depleted, but here’s the upside, as Chuck Scott, InSight’s project manager says:

“The goal is to get scientific data all the way to the point where InSight can’t operate at all, rather than conserve energy and operate the lander with no science benefit.”

 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories