NASA’s Mars InSight Lander may have transmitted its final photo from the Red Planet after it tweeted that it’s almost run out of power.
The wide-angle photo shows the area in front of the lander in the late afternoon sun. Science instruments are seen tethered to the lander’s rest while part of its robotic arm is visible in the top left corner.
The history-making mission, designed to inspect Mars’s crust, mantle, and core, is about to come to an end after its solar panels became coated with dust.
Back in May, NASA announced that InSight’s operations would likely cease by the end of the year. The space agency released a selfie showing just how much dust had built up on the spacecraft.
“By December, InSight’s team expects the lander to have become inoperative, concluding a mission that has thus far detected more than 1,300 marsquakes,” NASA said.
Yesterday, the InSight Twitter account shared a message: “My power’s really low, so this may be the last image I can send. Don’t worry about me though: my time here has been both productive and serene. If I can keep talking to my mission team, I will – but I’ll be signing off here soon. Thanks for staying with me.”
My power’s really low, so this may be the last image I can send. Don’t worry about me though: my time here has been both productive and serene. If I can keep talking to my mission team, I will – but I’ll be signing off here soon. Thanks for staying with me. pic.twitter.com/wkYKww15kQ
— NASA InSight (@NASAInSight) December 19, 2022
InSight’s main mission was to gather information on the Red Planet’s seismic activity to help measure the depth and composition of its crust, mantle, and core.
The robotic geologist made the first measurements of marsquakes, detecting over 1,300 of them with its hi-tech seismometer.
“I’ve been lucky enough to live on two planets,” the lander reminisced of its time in space last month.
“Four years ago, I arrived safely at the second one, to the delight of my family back on the first. Thanks to my team for sending me on this journey of discovery. Hope I’ve done you proud.”