After a four-year-long mission, NASA believes that the InSight lander is toast. Its power levels are so low that it can no longer send communications from the surface of Mars. A farewell message was shared on Twitter to commemorate the InSight lander’s final photo.
According to a press release, NASA hasn’t received communications from the InSight Lander since December 15th. Martian dust has slowly accumulated on the lander’s solar panels, preventing it from charging. NASA will continually send messages to the lander, but it doesn’t expect a response.
My power’s 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 serene. If I can keep talking to my mission team, I will – but I’ll be signing off here soon. Thanks for staying with me. pic.twitter.com/wkYKww15kQ
— NASA InSight (@NASAInSight) December 19, 2022
The InSight lander reached Mars in late 2018. It is, for the most part, a geological survey device, equipped with a seismometer and other tools that measure the Martian environment. Since its arrival on Mars, InSight has recorded over 1,000 seismic events, plus weather activity and data on the planet’s many layers.
Of course, the InSight Lander is equipped with cameras. NASA has shared over 6,000 photos from the lander, including some very depressing images of its dirty solar panels. If a human were to arrive on Mars and find the lander, they’d be shocked by just how dirty it’s gotten.
In a conversation with Insider, Harvard planetary scientist Anna Mittelholz states that “it’s actually been hard to fully take all the information” collected by the InSight lander. This machine may be non-operational, but “a lot of studies” are in the pipeline thanks to its four years on Mars.