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Video: A clever trick saves NASA’s Insight Mars rover


June 6, 2021 16:36 GMT

Specialists came up with an innovative way to increase the power of the device at a time when its power levels were declining.

The team that manages the operation of NASA’s Insight lander on Mars has successfully tested a new way to clean the device’s solar panels of accumulated dust. maneuver Help boost her energy It delays the moment when it will have to turn off its scientific instruments, as the red planet approaches apogee, its farthest point from the sun.

At the end of May, in the windiest hour of the day on Mars, the instrument threw sand near a solar panel so that grains of sand trapped in a gust of wind would remove some of the dust from the panel; That is, the largest grains carried the smallest dust particles as they were blown away by the wind. As a result, approximately 30 watt-hours of energy was gained on each Martian day.

“We weren’t sure if it would work, but We are glad that she succeeded“, He said Matt Golumbeck, a member of the Insight science team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

InSight’s solar panels have survived the main two-year mission for which they were designed, and the team now plans to extend them for another two years. Increased strength will help Delayed shutdown of scientific devices A few weeks, to buy time to gather additional scientific data before resuming operations later this year. During this period, NASA explained, InSight will reserve power for the heaters, computer, and other key components.

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