NASA has released the final desolate photo from the doomed Mars Lander
“Imagine how quiet it is, how empty it is. How lonely.”
Against all odds, NASA’s Mars lander has, somehow, kept moving — but it seems its inevitable death is finally at hand.
“It’s almost over,” planetary scientist Paul Byrne tweeted alongside the latest (and likely last) photo of the InSight lander, which the small spacecraft was able to capture on October 30.
This is probably the last photo @NASAInSight mission will ever send home.
It was recorded on Sunday, October 30, 2022 at 5:20 PM local time.
Its solar panels covered in dust, the Insight is not expected to last more than a few weeks.
This is almost the end. pic.twitter.com/YHe0UNaA4g
— Paul Byrne (@ThePlanetaryGuy) November 3, 2022
The lander’s journey so far — since existence declared near dead in the summer of 2021 thereafter NASA took immediate action to rescue him that spring, officially announcing to the agency that they had essentially give the “Do Not Resuscitate” command. on it in May of this year, just for that go on living so far — it’s been nothing short of miraculous.
It is also, clearly, inspired poetics.
“Insight is located in Elysium Planitia, a vast equatorial plain,” Byrne, an associate professor of Earth and planetary science at the University of St. Louis Washington, continued. “Absolutely barren, desolate place. Just look at that photo. Imagine how quiet it is, how empty. How lonely.”
Byrne is not the only one who has been forced into flowery language anytime describes InSight.
“The day is coming when I will be silent, ending my nearly four Earth years (over two Mars) of studying the Red Planet,” NASA’s InSight Twitter account has been published, in the first person as a lander. “As my time on Mars comes to an end, my team is helping to ensure that scientists can get the most out of everything I’ve collected.”
Indeed, “the mission was planned to last one Earth year,” tweeted the planetary scientist. “It took four.”
The biggest mission of the lander before its final transfer is, from NASAin order to preserve all the collected data about the Martian core and its seismic wave activity.
As noble as that mission is, the scientists working with InSight can’t help but be rhapsodic when discussing it.
“We’re pushing it to the very end,” Jet Propulsion Laboratory Science and Operations Team Leader Liz Barrett said in a NASA news release.
The light will soon be turned off for InSight — and there will be a surprising number of mourners when that day finally arrives.
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