After nearly four years spent on the Martian surface, NASA’s InSight lander is coming to the end of its life as the spacecraft’s power generation continues to decline because of dust blown on the lander’s solar panels. The InSight team is now taking steps to make sure the lander continues working as long as possible with what power remains. One of the most important final steps of the InSight mission is to make sure that the treasure of data with the lander is stored properly and made accessible to researchers around the world. The InSight lander has gathered data about the interior layers of Mars, its liquid core, the remnants beneath the surface of its nearly-extinct magnetic field, Martian weather, and on marsquakes. “Finally, we can see Mars as a planet with layers, with different thicknesses, compositions. We’re starting to really tease out the details.
Now it’s not just this enigma; it’s actually a living, breathing planet,” said Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a press statement. Banerdt is the principal investigator of the mission.
Earlier this year, the lander’s power reserves were so low that NASA turned off all the science instruments on board so that they can keep the seismometer running.