NASA’s Insight Mars Lander: ‘This May be the Last Image I Can Send’

Written by Reananda Hidayat Permono Completed Master of Science - MS, Petroleum Geology from Curtin University, Perth, Australia.

NASA’s Insight Mars lander has sent a picture of its dust-covered seismometer, and it’s probably its final communication from the Red Planet.

The message said, “My power is really low, this may be the last image I could send.”

The heartbreaking message continues, “Don’t worry about me; my time here has been productive and serene.”

InSight Mars landed on the Red Planet in November 2018 to study the make-up of the planet’s interior and monitor meteorite activity.

It landed on a flat volcanic plain near the planet's equator called Elysium Planitia. The landscape is featureless, so that NASA can conduct seismic measurements accurately from the surface.

InSight completed its primary scientific goals at the end of 2020. However, its batteries rely on solar power, and Mars’ regular dust storms could end the mission anytime.

Last month, NASA predicted the InSight mission was almost finished since dust-covered the lander’s solar panels.

Hence, InSight gained below 20 percent of energy of its initial capacity midway through the year.

Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the mission’s principal investigator, explained the weather on Mars is mainly wind and dust.

They will keep doing science measurements as long as they can.

The mission will be declared finish when InSight misses two consecutives communication chances with the Mars Relay Network.