NASA shares InSight Mars lander's final selfie | Digital Trends

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The final selfie of NASA's InSightMarslander reveals the full extent of the dust problem that's causing it to gradually lose power.

NASA has shared the final selfie snapped by its InSight Mars lander. The machine is gradually losing power as an increasing amount of martian dust covers its two 7-feet-wide solar arrays. It’s expected to go quiet toward the end of this year.NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which has been overseeing InSight’s mission since it began in 2018, also tweeted a GIF comprising a before/after sequence that clearly shows the severity of the situation.

A dusty self-portrait.@NASAInSight took what is likely to be its final selfie on April 24. In the GIF, you can see the spacecraft’s first selfie in December 2018 and its last one where it’s covered in Martian dust. https://t.co/gvCNyRPnzC pic.twitter.

InSight brought the first seismometer to Mars, and during the mission it detected more than 1,300 marsquakes, including a recent one measured as the largest quake ever detected on another planet. Scientists have been using the gathered data to learn more about the interior of the red planet. InSight also includes a high-tech weather station, enabling scientists to make a very detailed record of the weather on Mars during its four seasons.

Despite a few hiccups along the way — for example, InSight’s heat probe failed to reach the targeted depth — and a major dust-related problem at the end, the mission has been deemed a success, and actually fulfilled its main mission goals within the first two years of arriving on the distant planet. Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said recently that InSight had “transformed our understanding of the interiors of rocky planets and set the stage for future missions,” adding: “We can apply what we’ve learned about Mars’ inner structure to Earth, the moon, Venus, and even rocky planets in other solar systems.”

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