NASA lets Marslander detect earthquakes for a few more weeks

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NASA’s Mars InSight lander seismometer will remain in service for several more weeks to detect Mars tremors. As a result, the lander will run out of power faster, the space agency reports.

InSight launched in May 2018 and in November of the same year the spacecraft landed on the surface of Mars. Since then, the lander has detected more than 1,300 Marsquakes, among other things.

Recently, NASA announced that InSight was losing power. As a result, the lander only has a few months to live. The space agency said the lander will be discontinued by the end of the year.

It will likely be a little sooner, NASA now reports. In fact, the intention was to turn off the seismometer – an instrument capable of detecting earthquakes on Mars – at the end of this month.

NASA has now decided to keep the seismometer active longer, probably until late August or early September. As a result, InSight’s batteries will drain faster. The spacecraft will likely shut down much sooner, but it will be able to detect Mars quakes for longer.

The lander’s loss of power is due to the amount of dust that has accumulated on the spacecraft’s solar panels. The lander is equipped with two solar panels, each about 2.2 meters wide. Dust limits the amount of energy the lander can fire.

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