The InSight probe has been retired after 4 years of listening to the bowels of the Red Planet

The InSight probe has been retired after 4 years of listening to the bowels of the Red Planet

The probe has not sent any signal since December 15, due to a lack of sufficient power supplies.

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The end of the InSight mission. After four years of operation, NASA announced on Wednesday, December 21, that it had lost contact with its InSight probe on Mars, which has been listening to the interior of the Red Planet to reveal its secrets. The last signal from InSight was received on December 15th. Since then, NASA has tried to contact him twice, to no avail, leading teams to conclude that the probe’s batteries are now dead. “Rest well, little probe.”NASA’s Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) tweeted on Wednesday.

This interruption of operations isn’t a surprise to NASA: In recent weeks, the rover has had very little power left, due to Martian dust accumulating on its solar panels. A phenomenon now known to the US Space Agency, which it expects for its other instruments sent to Mars.

Four years of “brilliant scientific work”

The InSight probe arrived at Mars in November 2018, working in cooperation with France’s CNES. Equipped with a super-sensitive French-made seismometer, it has recorded more than 1,300 “earthquakes” – not earthquakes – some of which were caused by meteorite impacts. One of them, which happened a year ago, was so powerful that it threw blocks of ice onto the surface of Mars.

“If saying goodbye to a spacecraft is always a sad thing, Insight’s amazing science work is cause for celebration.”Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator at NASA, reacted in a press release. Thanks to the analysis of seismic waves traversing the bowels of the planet, the mission made it possible to learn more about the inner layers of Mars. For example, scientists have been able to confirm that its core is indeed liquid, and to determine the thickness of the Martian crust, which is less dense than previously thought.

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