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NASA’s InSight Mars lander sends heartbreaking farewell message back home

NASA’s InSight Mars lander sends heartbreaking farewell message back home

NASA's InSight lander has been on Mars since 2018, but now the end could be nigh

NASA’s InSight Mars lander has beamed back a heartbreaking message from the Red Planet as it prepares to reach the end of a mission that has lasted for the past four years.

Here's just a recap of the things that the beloved robot has achieve in its short but extraordinary life:

OK, we know that it’s just a bit of complex machinery that was sent up to space by NASA to get a closer look at Mars, one of our nearest planetary neighbours, but it’s still quite sad to know that it’s going to be dying all alone up there in space.

You see, the robot has been sending back all sorts of messages and images from Mars in recent times, but now the solar panels that it relies on for power are getting clogged up and covered over with dust blown onto it by the wind.

That means that InSight will no longer be able to gain power, which means that this latest message could be the last that we receive.

Here's the final image received from NASA's InSight.

In an update from November 2, InSight said: “The spacecraft’s power generation continues to decline as windblown dust on its solar panels thickens,

“The end is expected to come in the next few weeks.”

Wow, break it to us gently InSight.

Then, this Monday another sad message arrived through the ether, in which the space-travelling robot said: “My power’s really low, so this may be the last image I can send.

“Don’t worry about me though: my time here has been both productive and serene.

“If I can keep talking to my mission team, I will – but I’ll be signing off here soon.

“Thanks for staying with me.”

InSight's solar panels are now clogged with Mars dust.

InSight first touched down on Mars back in November 2018, and has been conducting a number of experiments on the geology of the planet, as well as measuring the quakes on the planet using a seismometer placed right onto the surface of the planet.

Last month, the lander was in a contemplative mood, reminiscing on its own existence and trans-planetary life.

It wrote: “I’ve been lucky enough to live on two planets. Four years ago, I arrived safely at the second one, to the delight of my family back on the first.

“Thanks to my team for sending me on this journey of discovery. Hope I’ve done you proud.”

You certainly have, InSight.

Since it was deployed, the lander has sent back vital information to Earth about the liquid core of Mars, amongst other things.

Soon, InSight won't be able to send messages back at all.

Before it was launched, NASA chief scientist Jim Green said that InSight’s mission was of ‘fundamental importance to understand the origin of our solar system and how it became the way it is today.’

So, all that is left is for the robot lander to miss two check-ins, after which NASA will declare the mission over and we’ll know that the end has come.

Farewell InSight, and Godspeed.

Featured Image Credit: NASA

Topics: NASA, Space