This is the last selfie that NASA’s InSight Lander will ever take

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NASA’s Mars InSight Lander is counting down its last moments as dust continues to cover its solar panels. This week, the team behind InSight took the opportunity to capture one of InSight’s latest selfies. The resulting image is a stark contrast to the first or even the second selfies taken by the lander throughout his mission.

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This is the last selfie of InSight that we will probably never see

InSight’s latest selfie on Mars

The Red Planet is steadily heading towards a dusty winter and NASA’s InSight Lander is getting ready to say goodbye. The landing craft, which has been measuring seismic activity on the planet since 2018, is slowly running out of power.

It’s a sad moment to explore Mars, especially considering InSight has measured some of the strongest earthquakes to date in recent months. However, saying goodbye to the Martian scroll is just part of exploring other planets. Made to be based on solar energy, there would always be problems with the accumulation of dust on the solar panels.

However, it is not clear if NASA expected it to accumulate as fast as it does. Before the spacecraft goes offline completely, NASA plans to put its hand in a “retirement” position. Along the way, the team also decided to take one last InSight selfie to say goodbye to the iconic explorer. Now, the space agency has shared this image with the public.

A dusty death

We have known for a long time that the end of InSight was coming sooner rather than later. However, NASA had no real plans to save InSight from collapsing. Instead, the service hoped that a tornado or a really strong gust could remove some of the dust from the solar panels. Now that this seems unlikely, it’s a matter of time before the batteries run out.

A comparison of InSight’s latest selfie with other images of the landing shows a stark contrast. Even when it landed in 2018, the boat had already begun to accumulate dust. This is because Mars is just a natural dusty place. And, with each passing sol, more dust has accumulated on these panels.

If nothing else, however, this latest InSight selfie can be a good reminder of future projects. Today’s Mars explorers, such as the Perseverance rover, rely on nuclear energy instead of solar energy. While the Solar is a little more self-sufficient, the dusty nature of the Red Planet limits how effective it can really be. Therefore, relying on nuclear energy in the future may be the key to building another landfill like InSight that can last.

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