NASAs InSight Mars probe has successfully exited safe mode after
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NASA’s InSight Mars probe has successfully exited safe mode after a sandstorm

NASA’s spacecraft safely exited safe mode transmitted ahead of a powerful sandstorm that erupted on Mars. The InSight module, designed to study the processes going on inside Mars, went into safe mode to conserve energy on January 7th and returned to service on the 19th of the same month.

Source: NASA

Source: NASA

“The skies above seem to be clearing, so I’m exiting Safe Mode to return to more normal operations.”, — reported on his Twitter page. The module wants to wait with further scientific tasks until it is clear how much electricity it can now generate, because the solar panels are clearly covered with dust and their output is to be reduced.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the mission, expressed hope earlier this month that InSight will emerge from safe mode within a week. While forecasts generally turn out to be true, the availability of energy will be an important factor determining the extent of scientific research in the coming months.

InSight landed on the Red Planet’s surface in 2018 and is already forced to run at limited power due to dust buildup on the solar panels. Although engineers were able to use a robotic arm to remove the contamination from one of them in 2021, NASA says it’s harder to repeat the procedure now that energy supplies are running low.

Although the solar panels on the Opportunity rover and its twin Spirit have been cleaned by the winds raging on Mars, the InSight module has been far less fortunate in this regard. NASA warned last year that reduced power generation could cause InSight operations to end in 2022. Not so long ago, the planet reached its largest orbit from the Sun, and dust storms are an additional obstacle to solar batteries.

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Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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