Suicide mission. The InSight spacecraft on Mars will “die” prematurely, but it's worth it

Suicide mission. InSight on Mars will

The lander will fail a few months early, but will be able to perform a very important mission.

InSight mission scientists have decided that the lander should operate at its maximum capacity for another couple of months, but this will lead to a complete shutdown of the device, according to Phys.

The InSight lander, which has been studying Mars, in particular its seismic activity since 2018, is already operating at the limit of its capabilities. Dust storms led to the fact that its solar panels were covered with a huge layer of dust and therefore the amount of energy consumed was significantly reduced.

As Focus already wrote that the InSight device will work on Mars no longer than until the end of 2022, it became known back in February. In April, NASA released images from orbit that showed how badly the lander was damaged by dust, as Focus already wrote.

Suicide mission. Mars InSight will 'die' prematurely, but worth it

But now NASA has decided to use the InSight seismometer to detect even more quakes (earthquakes on Mars ) longer than expected. But as a result, the device's batteries will run out faster and InSight will completely fail not at the end of the year, but much earlier.

Initially, scientists wanted to turn off the seismometer, which at the moment remains the last working scientific instrument of the apparatus, as early as the end of June 2022. Because of this, InSight could “live” on Mars until December.

But the scientists decided that they needed to use the capabilities of the seismometer now, while it was possible. Mission specialists believe that in this way the device will be able to detect new seismic activity on Mars, working until the end of August or even until the beginning of September. After that, the device, as well as the entire spacecraft itself, will cease to function. NASA says InSight is still able to provide new data before it completes its full scientific work on Mars.

Suicide mission. Mars InSight spacecraft will 'die' prematurely, but this worth it

Over the years, InSight has provided scientists with information about the crust, mantle, and core of Mars, and it has also detected more than 1,300 subsurface tremors, now called marsquakes. Focus has already written about the most powerful marsquake ever recorded by a lander. Also, the device, using its scientific instruments, studied the weather on the Red Planet, the composition of the soil at the landing site, and also provided information about the remnants of the ancient magnetic field of Mars.

InSight has already turned off all of its scientific instruments, except for the seismometer, due to a decrease in the level of incoming energy. In general, it is programmed to respond to threats on its own. This allowed scientists on Earth to make certain decisions in order to solve the problem.

But now scientists have had to turn off the device's protection system in order to prolong the operation of the seismometer. This protection would not allow the instrument to operate due to the extreme conditions on Mars in which InSight found itself. But this means that if some unforeseen situation happens, the mission specialists will not have time to solve the problem and the lander may fail earlier.

Suicide Mission. InSight Apparatus on Mars

“We want to use the InSight apparatus to the maximum scientific benefit until it completely fails. Why just save energy and wait for a slow “death” InSight before the end of the year without receiving any scientific data? Therefore, it was decided that the device worked while it could and sent new scientific data, “says Chuck Scott from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

< em>Focus already wrote that InSight sent his farewell selfie to Earth. According to scientists, it is no longer worth waiting for such photos from the device.

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