NASA extends the life of the InSight probe until January 2023

in hive-109160 •  2 months ago 

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(NASA/JPL/Caltech https://bit.ly/3R90GAF)

Good news from the Red Planet.

The team of Mars station InSight said that the SEIS seismograph will be able to work until January next year and early completion of its work is not required.

This is due to good summer weather conditions at the landing site of the station and the absence of dust storms.

InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is the first full-fledged extraterrestrial geophysical station.

The probe has been exploring the Red Planet for nearly 4 years, well beyond its original service life.

Previously, NASA had extended its scientific program, but constant problems with cleaning solar panels from dust led to a drop in available electrical power by a factor of 10.

This reduced the number of working scientific instruments to cameras and the SEIS seismograph.

So, the NASA engineers turned off the station's failure protection system.



EXTENDED WORK
Scientists assumed that as the seasons change on Mars, the dust storms would increase affecting the batteries.

So InSight would complete the scientific program by the autumn of this year, and completely turn off no later than December.

However, an analysis of the station's latest observations of the surrounding area showed that climatic seasonal changes are much weaker than predicted.

There may not even be any local storms at all in the next two weeks.

In addition, there is a possibility that sharp gusts of wind will blow some of the dust off the solar panels.

Based on this, scientists determined that the station is able to work until January 2023.

Right now, InSight spends half of its daylight hours recharging its batteries and the other half running its seismograph, which runs for 8 hours.

As the available power decreases, the periods between observations will increase more and more, up to several days.

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