This selfie captured by the NASA InSight Mars Lander on April 24 has already become iconic after it was declared that it will be the last selfie ever taken by the lander. The picture encapsulates the hardships of the situation on the red planet as the lander can be seen covered in dust. It gives an idea of the journey of InSight as well as the nature of the quake-prone region of the surface of Mars which the lander was exploring. NASA stated that the lander is expected to be inoperable by December 2022, bringing an end to its journey.
To capture its last selfie ever, InSight’s robotic arm had to expand several times but it was not an easy task. Due to the lander’s solar panel being covered by dust, the power generation capacity of the lander was deeply impacted. The NASA’s Mars InSight team has decided to put the lander’s robotic arm in its resting position, called as retirement pose for the last time this month.
On May 24, the official Twitter account of NASA InSight posted, “Before losing more solar energy, I took some time to take in my surroundings and snapped my final selfie before I rest my arm and camera permanently in the stowed position”.
Interestingly, the NASA InSight lander was first to record a quake on another planet. The onboard seismometer of this lander has measured over 1,300 seismic events, where 50 of them were clear enough for the team to learn information about where it occurred on the planet. It has also gathered information about the atmospheric features which includes dust storms, turbulence, bore waves and weather front of the planet.
NASA's Mars Lander was launched aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle on May 5, 2018, and successfully landed on Mars on November 26, 2018.
The full form of InSight is “The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport”. The InSight robotic lander is designed to study the deep interior of the red planet. It is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory but most of its scientific instruments were built by European agencies. The study or the information gathered on this mission has definitely opened a lot more ways for Mars related missions in future.
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