‘My power is really low’: NASA to lose contact with Mars InSight spacecraft after four years | UK News

This may be the last image ever sent by NASA’s Mars InSight spacecraft.

After a four-year mission to the Red Planet, the robotic lander left – which broke the first “selfie” ever taken on Mars – goes out.

Strong wind blown dust coated InSight’s solar panels, with Nasa expect to lose contact with the probe soon.

The US space agency posted the news on the craft’s Twitter page, saying: “My power is really low so this may be the last image I can send.

“Don’t worry about me though: my time here has been both productive and peaceful.

“If I can keep talking to my mission team, I will – but I’ll sign here soon. Thank you for staying with me.”

NASA announced the £630million InSight project 10 years ago as a follow-up to their successful Curiosity Rover.

The InSight lander’s goal was to find out how Mars formed, with the goal of giving scientists a better understanding of how rocky bodies like Earth were created.

Prior to this, the team behind the spacecraft had to successfully complete the 300 million kilometer journey to Mars before they could endure “seven minutes of terror” to come back to the surface.

Only 40% of missions to the Red Planet made it safely through the thin atmosphere.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

A combination of a heat shield, parachute and retrorockets helped slow InSight from 13,000 mph to 5 mph in just six minutes to allow it to land on Elysium Planitia, a featureless plain just north of the location of the Curiosity rover.

Once deployed, the craft drove a temperature probe five meters into the surface to measure the heat coming from the planet’s core.

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Five months after landfall, InSight’s earthquake monitor detected a faint rumble. NASA scientists concluded that it came from inside the planet and called it the “Marsquake”.

One of InSight’s key findings was establishing that the Red Planet is indeed seismically active, recording more than 1,300 earthquakes.

NASA’s InSight robotic probe. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

The recording launched a new area of ​​”Mars seismology” research, NASA said, which could help learn more about the formation of rocky planets.

He also measured the seismic waves generated by meteorite impacts, revealing the thickness of the planet’s outer crust, the size and density of its inner core, and the structure of the mantle that lies between the two.

But there was also time for fun. The craft took the first “selfie” ever taken on Mars, using a camera attached to its robotic arm to send an image all the way to Earth.

InSight takes one
InSight takes a ‘selfie’ on the surface of Mars using a camera on its robotic arm

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles will continue to listen for a signal from the lander, just in case.

But hearing from InSight again is unlikely, experts say.

The stationary three-legged probe last communicated with Earth on December 15.

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