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NASA's Insight probe took a selfie on Mars before it died

Another NASA probe, Insight, is nearing the end of its life, taking its last selfie on Mars before further energy depletion. NASA has shared the latest selfie taken by the Mars Insight probe, which shows it filled with a thick layer of dust and Martian rock on the solar panels. The spacecraft's mission is expected to end this year, and thus the lander will need all of its remaining power to collect as much scientific data as possible.

The site will probably cease all operations by the end of 2022. The end of the mission is due to the large amount of dust that has accumulated on the probe's solar panels, limiting the force that the spacecraft can absorb. It takes pictures of the Martian sky, for example, and uses its seismometer to detect earthquakes. The lander also tried for two years to use its "Mole" heat probe to drill to the surface of Mars, but due to the type of soft soil at the landing site, efforts were unsuccessful and operations stopped. The lander also identified the largest known seismic activity on another planet: a 5-magnitude earthquake that struck the heart of Mars.

It also had the best view of Mars, and geological and seismic systems. Revealed to scientists today that they are active on the planet. The site has so far identified 1313 earthquakes and can still detect more before the end of its scientific operations.

BingMag.com <b>NASA's</b> <b>Insight</b> <b>probe</b> <b>took</b> a <b>selfie</b> on <b>Mars</b> <b>before</b> it died

The end of the mission has been a smooth process. The lander had previously been safe due to Martian dust storms, but the mission team's actions helped clear some of the dust from the solar panels. This was done by deliberately pouring Martian soil on the dust to remove it, but such actions seem to have only delayed the inevitable end of the mission.

This final selfie was taken on April 24th. And shows the amount of dust that has accumulated on the spacecraft's solar panels. This amount of dust is much higher than what was seen in the first and second landing selfies in December 2018, as well as between March and April 2019.

Mars selfie probes are mosaic images composed of several interconnected images For each of them, the robotic arm carrying the landing camera needs to be positioned differently. Therefore, according to NASA, with the reduction of the probe energy, the complex preparation of these selfies does not have the value of further draining the battery, and the robotic arm will be transferred to its resting state this month. Thus, although there are still a few months left until the end of the Insight mission, we will probably never see the probe in such a fascinating view of Mars again.

But Kathya Zamora Garcia, NASA's vice president of Insight project, said the landing operation could be completed in mid-July, although the Martian climate is unpredictable and could change.

Photo: NASA's latest Insight probe on Mars
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Source: Gizmodo

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