Articles for "InSight"

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Space | 17. May 2022 | posted by Christian Krause

Martian dust reduces power for InSight – but measurements are ongoing

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
A dusty affair: this image was acquired on 28 April 2022 by the camera on the InSight lander's robotic arm. The layer of dust on the lander, including the solar panels, is clearly visible.

NASA's InSight lander has been operating on Mars for a good year and a half during its extended mission. However, the lander has been struggling for a considerable time with a reduction in available power, which is due to the increasing quantities of Martian dust covering its solar panels. This dust can only be removed by sufficiently strong Martian winds. However, despite detecting many passing whirlwinds, none have cleaned off the solar panels.

The available energy has had to be planned for and used very carefully during recent months. The overall focus has been particularly on the scientific measurements of the mission. The teams involved, led by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Lockheed Martin, which operates the lander, have managed to keep this unique mission in operation until now. When InSight landed, its solar panels were producing approximately 5000 watt-hours per Martian day, or sol. Now, at 500 watt-hours per sol, they produce only about a tenth of this. And the Martian dust on the panels continues to increase while the Sun's elevation at the landing site decreases as winter sets in. read more

Space | 16. October 2020 | posted by Tilman Spohn

The InSight mission logbook

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Since February 2019, the scientific director of DLR's HP3 instrument, Tilman Spohn, has been providing us with the latest news about the InSight mission in the DLR blog and regularly explains the current situation of the heat probe HP3, which we affectionately refer to as the Mars 'Mole'. read more

Space | 07. July 2020 | posted by Tilman Spohn

The InSight mission logbook (February 2019 - July 2020)

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
You can find more graphics explaining the instruments of the InSight mission on flickr

In his logbook, Instrument Lead Tilman Spohn who is back in Berlin since April and communicating with JPL via the web, gives us the latest updates regarding the InSight mission and our HP3 instrument - the 'Mole' - which will hammer into the Martian surface. read more