NASA’s Mars Lander might ‘die entirely’ as it sinks into ’emergency hibernation’

NASA's Mars Lander known as InSight could be in trouble on the Red Planet as it struggles to find the necessary power to operate.

The $800million lander first reach Mars in 2018 and has been working hard collecting invaluable data for NASA's scientists on quakes and other weather phenomena.

The problem lies with InSight's solar panels which have been gathering red Martian dust making it difficult for the robot to store the energy needed to function.

Normally planet storms would clear the gathering dust but the area known as Elysium Planitia has not been ignored by the expected powerful gusts.

Since the windiest season of the Martian year has just ended, the NASA team isn’t counting on a cleaning event in the coming months.

InSight's solar panels were producing just 27% of their energy capacity in February, reports the Insider.

The power has to be shared between science instruments, a robotic arm, the spacecraft’s radio, and a variety of heaters that keep everything in working order despite subfreezing temperatures.

In response, NASA began shutting down certain operations and functions on the Mars Lander incrementally.

However, soon the robot will use only the most basic functions, thus entering a hibernation mode that hopefully will protect it from dying completely.

If the lander closes down enough operations it should be able to keep warm enough to stay alive, even during the extreme cold nights on Mars.

Get latest news headlines delivered free

Want all the latest shocking news and views from all over the world straight into your inbox?

We've got the best royal scoops, crime dramas and breaking stories – all delivered in that Daily Star style you love.

Our great newsletters will give you all you need to know, from hard news to that bit of glamour you need every day. They'll drop straight into your inbox and you can unsubscribe whenever you like.

You can sign up here – you won't regret it…

Chuck Scott, InSight's project manager, said: "The amount of power available over the next few months will really be driven by the weather.

"As part of our extended-mission planning, we developed an operations strategy to keep InSight safe through the winter so that we can resume science operations as solar intensity increases.”

InSight recently had its mission extended by two years giving it time to detect more quakes, dust devils, and other phenomena on the surface of Mars.

The lander is not the only robot on Mars currently, NASA's Perseverance rover and its Mars helicopter are also positioned elsewhere on the Red Planet collecting important information and data.

Source: Read Full Article