Home » NASA Mars lander goes into safe and sound mode all through significant dust storm

NASA Mars lander goes into safe and sound mode all through significant dust storm

NASA Mars robot hears planet grumble during 90-minute-long marsquake

NASA’s Mars Insight lander snapped a selfie in early 2019. It had gathered a thin coast of dust by this stage.


NASA/JPL-Caltech

This story is element of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the pink earth.

Every single robotic explorer that lands on Mars has to contend with the planet’s famously dusty conditions. NASA’s Perception lander, which took up home on the purple world in 2018, is hunkering down because of to a substantial, regional dust storm. 

Perception went into harmless mode — a method created to guard the lander — on Jan. 7 immediately after a dust storm reduced daylight to the photo voltaic-driven device. So considerably, Insight remains secure. “The mission’s team reestablished get in touch with with Perception Jan. 10, acquiring that its energy was keeping regular and, though reduced, was not likely to be draining the lander’s batteries,” NASA JPL mentioned in a assertion on Tuesday.

NASA has experience with Martian dust storms impacting its missions, notably when a global dust storm in 2018 finished the Option rover’s journey. Perception has already faced strains because of to dust masking its photo voltaic panels. The lander group arrived up with a clever way to crystal clear some of the dust off, which has allowed Perception to proceed its science do the job.

The current dust storm could have a long lasting impact on InSight’s electric power supply if it deposits extra particles on the panels. If NASA receives lucky, the storm could possibly probably assistance the lander’s scenario. “The whirlwinds and gusts of dust storms have assisted to obvious photo voltaic panels about time, as with the Spirit and Option Mars rover missions,” stated NASA. “While InSight’s climate sensors have detected lots of passing whirlwinds, none have cleared any dust.”

Final calendar year, NASA extrended the Insight mission to the close of 2022. The lander is now ready out the dust storm by suspending science function and maintaining just its crucial capabilities. According to NASA JPL, the storm would seem to be waning and the staff hopes to deliver the lander out of protected method subsequent week.

Perception has delivered valuable insights into Marsquakes and what is actually heading on beneath the planet’s surface. NASA hopes it will temperature the storm and come out ready to dive again into its science duties.