'InSight has more than lived up to its name,' said Laurie Leshin, director of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.
NASA has some sad news for you. The space agency confirmed in a statement on Monday that it has lost communication with its InSight Mars lander and that the InSight mission has come to an end "after more than four years of collecting unique science on Mars." The spacecraft collected "new science from Mars" over the last four years, the statement said. The last signal that they had from the lander was on December 15. After two unsuccessful attempts to communicate with InSight, the scientists decided to conclude the mission.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said: "I watched the launch and landing of this mission, and while saying goodbye to a spacecraft is always sad, the fascinating science InSight conducted is cause for celebration. The seismic data alone from this Discovery Program mission offers tremendous insights not just into Mars but other rocky bodies, including Earth.”
Thank you for all the good *vibes* @NASAInSight!— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) December 21, 2022
This mission taught us more about marsquakes and the inner workings of the Red Planet than we thought possible. What message do you have for this special lander and the team? pic.twitter.com/EfEnhQTTmC
The Insight mission was launched on May 5, 2018, and landed on Mars on November 26, 2018. InSight is short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport. The objective of the mission was to understand Mars's deep interior using a "highly sensitive seismometer." In the last few months, it was becoming difficult for InSight to recharge itself due to the accumulation of dust on the solar-powered robot's panels, reports Buzzfeed News.
InSight's official Twitter account posted a message from the lander on Monday. It read: "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."
People on Twitter were quite emotional about the robot's final message. One wrote, "I'm not crying about a robot you're crying about a robot." Another tweeted: "You will never be forgotten. Thank you for your service, mighty little lander." A third said, "Rest well InSight. Thanks to you and your team. Job well done."
InSight was provided by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), which eventually buried its 16-inch (40-centimeter) probe just slightly below the surface, collecting valuable data on the physical and thermal properties of the Martian soil along the way.
Rest easy, little lander ❤ @NASAInSight's mission has ended after more than four years of detecting marsquakes, meteoroid impacts, and unique science on Mars. Congratulations - and thank you - to the team that made these pioneering discoveries possible. https://t.co/MCRzWYFSMd pic.twitter.com/GJkVI88CWi— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) December 21, 2022
Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California was managing InSight for the agency's Science Mission Directorate. Laurie Leshin, director of JPL, said: "InSight has more than lived up to its name. As a scientist who's spent a career studying Mars, it's been a thrill to see what the lander has achieved, thanks to an entire team of people across the globe who helped make this mission a success. Yes, it's sad to say goodbye, but InSight's legacy will live on, informing and inspiring.” Bruce Banerdt of JPL, the mission's principal investigator, said that they thought of InSight "as a friend and colleague on Mars" for four years "so it’s hard to say goodbye. But it has earned its richly deserved retirement.”