GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

NASA’s InSight Mars lander took what the space agency says will be its last selfie. The lander can be seen covered in a lot of dust. The InSight team expects the lander to become inoperative by December, thus concluding a mission that has detected more than 1,300 marsquakes and located the most quake-prone regions of the Red Planet.

What

  1. The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) robotic lander is designed to study the deep interior of the red planet.
  2. It is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory but most of its scientific instruments were built by European agencies.
  3. It was launched aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle on 5 May 2018, and successfully landed on Mars on 26 November 2018.
  4. The InSight lander was the first to detect a quake on another planet. Its onboard seismometer has measured over 1,300 seismic events, with over 50 of them having clear enough signals for the team to learn information about where they occurred on the planet.
  5. It also observed atmospheric features such as weather fronts, dust storms, turbulence, infrasound and bore waves, providing a much more complete picture of the planet’s weather patterns, which will inform future missions to Mars.