NASA’s InSight Mars lander’s power diminishing, has months left
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The agency announced Tuesday that science operations are expected to end later this summer.
By December, the InSight team expects the lander to have become inoperative.
NASA said that it will keep using the spacecraft’s seismometer to register marsquakes until the power is out.
Then, flight controllers will monitor InSight until the end of the year.
Later this month, the team will put the lander’s robotic arm in its resting position for the last time.
The lander was designed to accomplish the mission’s primary science goals in its first Mars year. Now, InSight is on an extended mission.
When it landed, the solar panels produced around 5,000 watt-hours each Martian day.
Now, NASA said, they’re producing roughly 500 watt-hours in the same timeframe.
Seasonal changes are beginning in InSight’s location on Mars, with more dust in the air.
InSight’s seismometer has detected more than 1,300 marsquakes, including the biggest one just two weeks ago.
The information from the quakes has allowed scientists to measure the depth and composition of Mars’ crust, mantle and core, and InSight has recorded invaluable weather data and studied remnants of Mars’ ancient magnetic field.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.