Lander InSight will get a few extra weeks to explore Mars

Lander InSight will get a few extra weeks to explore Mars

InSight lander will get a few extra weeks to explore Mars

Photo: AP

Specialists operating the NASA InSight Martian mission decided to use the seismometer longer than previously planned, although as a result of this decision the lander will finally run out of power and stop working ahead of time, according to the NASA portal.

As the battery power available to the InSight lander dwindles every day, the NASA team has rescheduled the mission to maximize the science work that can still be done. It was previously planned that the lander would automatically turn off its seismometer — last working scientific instrument InSight — by the end of June in order to conserve energy by surviving on what the power that its dusty solar panels can generate until about December.

However, this decision has now been revised: it is planned to program the lander so that its seismometer can work longer — possibly until the end of August or beginning of September. This will drain the batteries prematurely, but may allow the seismometer to detect additional marsquakes.

All instruments except the seismometer are already disabled. Like other Martian landers, InSight is equipped with a fail-safe system that automatically enters a so-called safe mode in threatening situations and disables all but the most important functions of its functions, allowing engineers to assess the situation and intervene if necessary. Low power consumption and temperatures outside the set limits can trigger the automatic activation of safe mode.

Prepared by: Sergey Daga