Skip to main content

NASA shares InSight Mars lander’s final selfie

NASA has shared the final selfie snapped by its InSight Mars lander. The machine is gradually losing power as an increasing amount of Martian dust covers its two 7-feet-wide solar arrays. It’s expected to go quiet toward the end of this year.

The selfie (below) was captured in April and released this week and shows the lander completely covered in dust.

The InSight Mars lander's final selfie.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which has been overseeing InSight’s mission since it began in 2018, also tweeted a GIF (below) comprising a before/after sequence that clearly shows the severity of the situation.

A dusty self-portrait.@NASAInSight took what is likely to be its final selfie on April 24. In the GIF, you can see the spacecraft’s first selfie in December 2018 and its last one where it’s covered in Martian dust.

— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) May 24, 2022

“The arm needs to move several times in order to capture a full selfie,” JPL said in a message on its website, adding that as its dusty solar panels are producing less power, the team will “soon put the lander’s robotic arm in its resting position — called the “retirement pose” — for the last time in May of 2022.”

InSight brought the first seismometer to Mars, and during the mission, it detected more than 1,300 marsquakes, including a recent one measured as the largest quake ever detected on another planet. Scientists have been using the gathered data to learn more about the interior of the red planet. InSight also includes a high-tech weather station, enabling scientists to make a very detailed record of the weather on Mars during its four seasons. You can learn about some of the mission’s discoveries in the video below. It also addresses the dust issue.

NASA’s InSight Lander Accomplishes Science Goals on Mars as Power Levels Diminish

Despite a few hiccups along the way — for example, InSight’s heat probe failed to reach the targeted depth — and a major dust-related problem at the end, the mission has been deemed a success, and actually fulfilled its main mission goals within the first two years of arriving on the distant planet.

Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said recently that InSight had “transformed our understanding of the interiors of rocky planets and set the stage for future missions,” adding: “We can apply what we’ve learned about Mars’ inner structure to Earth, the moon, Venus, and even rocky planets in other solar systems.”

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter sets two flight records on Mars
NASA's Ingenuity helicopter.

NASA’s Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, set two flight records on its most recent flight.

Taking to the Martian skies on Sunday, April 2, Ingenuity buzzed along at a record speed of 6.5 meters per second (15 mph), comfortably beating its previous record of 6 meters per second (13 mph) set in February.

Read more
NASA’s plucky Mars helicopter eyes another flight record
Mars helicopter

NASA’s plucky Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, is about to embark on its 49th flight on the red planet.

The diminutive drone-like aircraft arrived on Mars with the Perseverance rover in February 2021.

Read more
Perseverance Mars rover shares detailed panorama of sample depot
The site of Perseverance's sample depot.

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has been busy creating what the space agency recently said was “humanity’s first sample depot on another planet.”

The depot, which is essentially a flat patch of land, contains 10 titanium tubes holding samples of martian rock and dust collected by NASA’s rover in the two years since it landed on the red planet.

Read more