NASA’s Insight Mars Rover Has Officially Died After Its Solar-Powered Batteries Ran Out Of Energy


NASA has said its goodbyes to Insight after more than four years of service.

This was declared on Wednesday after two failed attempts to contact the craft.

The team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said the cause of death was the craft’s batteries that ran out of power – a state engineers call a ‘dead bus.’

Insight had landed on Mars in 2018 and since then, it detected more than 1,300 marsquakes with its French-built seismometer, including several caused by meteoroid strikes.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said in a statement: ‘I watched the launch and landing of this mission, and while saying goodbye to a spacecraft is always sad, the fascinating science InSight conducted is cause for celebration.”

‘The seismic data alone from this offers tremendous insights not just into Mars but other rocky bodies, including Earth.’

Earlier this summer, the lander had so little remaining power that the mission turned off Insight’s other science instruments to keep the seismometer running.

Insight was employed to study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all celestial bodies with rocky surfaces formed, including those on Earth and the moon.

It was intended to be used for two years, but its mission was extended to four years after it was found to have ‘produced exceptional science’ by an independent review panel.

It was known that its solar panels would eventually get covered in Martian dust, making it hard to generate power.

NASA said fitting it with some mechanism that removed the dust ‘would have added cost, mass and complexity’ that could have hindered its success.

Insight showed that the planet’s crust is thinner than expected – about 15 to 25 miles (25 to 40 kilometers) thick, comprising three internal layers.

Laurie Leshin, director of JPL, which manages the mission, said: ‘InSight has more than lived up to its name. 

‘As a scientist who’s spent a career studying Mars, it’s been a thrill to see what the lander has achieved, thanks to an entire team of people across the globe who helped make this mission a success.

‘Yes, it’s sad to say goodbye, but InSight’s legacy will live on, informing and inspiring.’ 


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