NASA has revealed that its InSight Martian lander could die this year from dust. According to the space agency, the dust had affected 80% of the rover’s solar panels, leaving it with less than 700 watt-hours of power per ground (a Martian day, which is slightly longer than an Earth day). The agency said the problem is not new. Earlier probes and landers were also affected by Martian dust, but the problem was solved by dust eddies that cleaned out the solar panels and allowed the devices to last “years beyond their intended lifespan.”
However, the hundreds of dust swirls that passed the jug were unable to clean the “dining table-sized panels.” The robotic arm installed on the lander did not solve the problem either. Another detail that worsens the situation is the fact that the red planet has moved away from the Sun, which means that the device will receive even less energy. To save energy, NASA researchers have decided to temporarily turn off certain instruments, including sensors that collect meteorological and magnetic field data.
Measuring the seismic activity of Mars
Scientists say they expect InSight to die by the end of this year, though they note that the Explorer could survive until spring 2022. Made by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, the robotic rover has been traveling the Martian surface since 2018. Its main objective is to measure seismic activity. of the planet, as well as to provide an accurate 3D essay-writing model of its interior.