Solar panels covered in dust mean NASA’s Mars mission is coming to an end

Katya Zamora Garcia, Insight project manager at NASA’s Jite Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., told a news conference on Tuesday that the work would halt science operations until the end of the summer, as energy sources were dwindling.

Despite creative efforts, InSight’s solar arrays are increasingly covered in red Martian dust. By the mission team on Earth. This accumulation When there is a lot of dust in the atmosphere, the situation gets worse when Mars enters winter.

These floating particles reduce the amount of sunlight needed to charge the solar panels that power Insight, which is currently on an extended mission expected to last through December. The mission achieved its primary goals after its first two years on Mars.

On May 7, the lander went into safe mode, its power levels dropped, and everything else shut down except for essential functions. The team expects this to happen more often The amount of dust will increase in the future.

After landing on Mars in November 2018, the stationary probe was only able to collect a tenth of the power supply it had. When Insight first landed, it was capable of producing around 5,000 watts per day on Mars. Turn on the electric oven for 40 minutes to an hour.

The lander now produces 500 watts per day, enough to power an electric furnace for just 10 minutes. If 25% of the solar panels are cleaned, InSight will increase the power enough Must continue. The spacecraft saw many dust devils or hurricanes, but No one is close enough to remove the solar panels.

“We expect Spirit and Opportunity Rovers to be clean, as we’ve seen repeatedly,” said Bruce Bonert, senior analyst for Insight at JPL. “It’s still possible, but since the energy is low, we’re focused on using as much of the science as we can still collect.”

Lander’s robotic arm will soon be put into “resting pose”.

At the end of the summer, the team will shut down the seismograph, complete science operations, and monitor power levels in the lander. At the end of the year, the Insight mission will be completed.

However, the Insight team will request any communications from the spacecraft and determine if it can be reactivated.

InSight took a picture of one of its dust-covered solar panels on April 24.

During the press conference, Lori Claise, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said, “The Insight mission is truly an incredible mission for us. Interpreting InSight data has really improved our understanding of how rocks form in the universe.

Lander’s High Sensitivity Seismometer, also known as the Infrastructure Seismic Test, detects over 1,300 Mars hundreds and thousands of miles away. Data collected by Insight so far New details revealed about what is little known Core and mantle of Mars. He also recorded weather data and analyzed remnants of a magnetic field that once existed on Mars.

“Even though we are starting to approach the end of our mission, Mars still offers us some interesting things to see,” Bonert said.

This graph shows Insight's power distribution difference (left) in 2018, which is now due to dust buildup (right) and decreasing sunlight.

Mars earthquakes are like the earthquakes we experience on Earth and will be a little different as to why they occur on each planet. On earth it’s recent The event will be a moderate magnitude earthquake – but it set a new record for seismic activity discovered by scientists exploring Mars.

This is because when we experience earthquakes, the Earth’s tectonic plates move, shift and collide. So far, only Earth is known as the planet with these plates.

So how does an earthquake occur on Mars? Imagine for a second that you have been transported to the karmic world of Earl. This crust contains flaws and fractures because the planet is constantly shrinking as it cools. this summary It puts pressure on Mars, causing it to stretch and crack.

As seismic waves pass through various objects inside Mars, it allows scientists to study the structure of the planet. Analyzing the process helps them understand the interior of mysterious Mars and use this research to learn how other rocky planets, including our own, form.

With Insight, scientists were able to map the interior of Mars for the first time in history, Bonert said.

Seismic signals from Martian earthquakes have revealed a lot about the crust, mantle and center of Mars.

The InSight science team is continuously studying the earthquake to better understand its origin, origin and what it may reveal about the Red Planet.

Insight’s static data for scientists on Earth will stop when the solar cells can no longer generate enough power. But to learn as much as possible about our mysterious planetary neighbors, researchers will spend decades studying the findings made by Insight.

Leave a Comment