The US space agency “NASA” announced that it had lost contact with its “Insight” probe located on the surface of Mars, after four years spent exploring the red planet.
The end of this mission was expected, as the remaining energy of the probe became low due to the Martian dust accumulated on its solar panels, which was what NASA expected from the beginning.
“Farewell to a spacecraft is always sad, but Insight’s amazing science results are cause for joy,” NASA Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuken said in a statement.
Equipped with a French-made, ultra-sensitive seismometer, InSight recorded more than 1,300 “marshal tremors,” some of which were caused by meteorites. A year ago, a meteorite fell that was so powerful that it caused icicles to scatter on the surface of Mars.
NASA received its last notification from Insight on December 15. Since then, the US agency has tried to contact him twice, but to no avail, which prompted the teams to conclude that the probe’s batteries had run out.
NASA said in a statement that it is continuing to try to capture any notification, but that this possibility is “unlikely.”
Thanks to the analysis of seismic waves traversing the planet, the mission provided additional information about the inner layers of Mars.
Scientists were able, for example, to confirm that the Martian core is liquid, and to determine the thickness of the Martian crust, which turned out to be less dense than previously thought.
The mission was extended as a result of a careful cleaning of the solar panels.
The “Insight” probe was landed on the surface of Mars in November 2018, and it was operated in cooperation with the National Center for Space Studies in France.
However, the mission failed to achieve one of its goals, which is to plant an instrument at a depth of a few meters below the surface of Mars to measure the temperature of this planet, but the soil composition at the landing site prevented the instrument from being planted as expected.
And after it was installed at a depth of about 40 centimeters, the instrument was able to provide “valuable data on the physical and thermal properties of the Martian soil,” according to what NASA confirmed.