Dec 21, 2022 - Science

This NASA lander mission to Mars is over. Here's why

Artist rendering of the InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) robotic lander.

A rendering of the InSight robotic lander. Source: Adrian Mann/Future Publishing via Getty Images

NASA's InSight lander mission on Mars has ended after years of science and research, the agency said Wednesday.

Why it matters: The NASA mission spent more than four years collecting data and science unique to Earth's neighboring red planet.

Details: NASA said that its Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California could not make contact with the lander after two tries, which led them to believe that the lander is out of energy and is now a “dead bus.”

  • NASA previously said it would announce the InSight mission over if the lander didn't communicate back to them after two attempts.

Context: InSight — which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport — looked "to study the deep interior of Mars," NASA said.

  • Collected data from InSight showed details on the planet's interior, weather patterns and some information on quake activity, according to NASA.

What they're saying: “We broke new ground, and our science team can be proud of all that we’ve learned along the way," Philippe Lognonné, the principal investigator of InSight’s seismometer, said in a statement.

The big picture: The InSight lander has helped scientists understand the crust of Mars and possibly how the planet's atmosphere formed, Axios' Miriam Kramer writes.

  • The lander detected 1,319 marsquakes during its run, which began in 2018.
  • Two months ago, the robotic lander felt shockwaves from a meteor strike on the red planet.

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