Mars InSight Lander Sends Final Selfie Before Losing Power

NASA’s InSight lander shared one final selfie posted on Monday before losing power, likely ending its mission that started in 2018.

The most recent image may be InSight’s last, which comes shortly after recording the most powerful quake recorded on the red planet.

“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,” NASA’s InSight account tweeted. “If I can keep talking to my mission team, I will – but I’ll be signing off here soon. Thanks for staying with me.”

In an update from NASA on Monday, the Mars InSight blog revealed that the lander’s communications were no longer responding.

“The lander’s power has been declining for months, as expected, and it’s assumed InSight may have reached its end of operations. It’s unknown what prompted the change in its energy; the last time the mission contacted the spacecraft was on Dec. 15, 2022,” the update read. “The mission will continue to try and contact InSight.”

NASA previously reported on December 12 that InSight’s power had declined to “an average of ~285 watt-hours of energy per Martian day” as the mission headed toward an end.

In a post on November 23, the NASA InSight Twitter account first noted that its end could be near.

“Time may be short for me, but I’ll keep sending back science for as long as I can,” its account tweeted.

In May, the lander detected the largest quake ever recorded on Mars. The 4.7 magnitude quake included reverberations that lasted over an hour. The previous top quake recorded on the red planet was 4.2 magnitude.

“This was definitely the biggest Marsquake that we have seen,” said Taichi Kawamura, lead author and planetary scientist at the Institut de physique du globe de Paris, France. Kawamura co-authored the scientific paper regarding quakes on Mars with seismologist John Clinton at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich.

“The energy released by this single marsquake is equivalent to the cumulative energy from all other Marsquakes we’ve seen so far, and although the event was over 2000 kilometers (1200 miles) distant, the waves recorded at InSight were so large they almost saturated our seismometer,” Clinton said in the research.

“For the first time we were able to identify surface waves, moving along the crust and upper mantle, that have traveled around the planet multiple times,” he added.

InSight was the first spacecraft to document a marsquake. It detected more than 1,300 marsquakes with its built-in seismometer, including several caused by meteoroid strikes, according to CBS News.

In addition to InSight, NASA has the Perseverance Mars Rover and Curiosity Rover at work on the red planet.

The Daily Wire previously reported that the Perseverance rover recently recorded the audio of the first Martian dust devils, which traveled directly above the rover and sprayed the device with dust. The rover happened to have its microphone turned on when the dust phenomenon passed above it.

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