NASA’s Insight Mars landing block deliberately threw dirt on it

NASA's Insight Mars landing block deliberately threw dirt on it

On May 22, a stationary robot on Mars used its hand to remove Mars sand. Then it slowly threw itself, a strong wind removing small grains from Mars and crashing into the engine’s solar panels. This robot landed on Insight Mars at NASA and sand trash is not a mistake. This may seem incomprehensible, but The goal of the space agency is actually to clean up one of the most important parts of the lander Using sand as a tool to remove a layer of rusty paint dust covering the entire landing gear.

Unlike NASA’s passion and diligence rovers, the Insight landing block relies on solar energy to generate energy. It stores electricity in its batteries to provide continuous power to its core devices. Unfortunately, as Mars approaches its farthest point from the Sun in its orbit, the sun’s energy and red dust land and cover its solar panels.

Mars often has very strong winds, and as we all know this wind can blow a lot of dust. Massive dust storms usually cover large areas of the planet and sometimes the entire planet, and this dust prefers to settle on solar panels. Insight is not the easiest way to clean their solar panels, and dust is something to deal with on pre-Mars missions. But Insight saw a very dramatic drop in energy consumption due to a combination of sticky dust and sun, which is far from the latter part of the year, when robot operators decided to try something.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains:

The Insight team has been looking for ways to try to remove dust from their solar panels for almost a year. For example, they tried to remove the pulsating solar panel motors (the last to open its insider solar panels), but they were unsuccessful.

When this attempt failed, the team came up with another technology that would be so much fun outside. The idea was to collect the sand and slowly release it near the solar field, but not place it on the panels. Scientists tried to do so on the afternoon of May 22, JBL says the wind was strong. The wind caught some grain of sand and chased the solar panels, releasing a bundle of dust, which then blew into the air.

The technology has worked incredibly well, and with solar panels completely dust-free, the area affected by the sand emission strategy has increased energy consumption by 30 watt-hours per day on Mars. Insight is currently on a two-year mission extension after its two-year primary mission. We hope the robot has enough energy to last as long as it needs to.

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See The original version of this article on BGR.com

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Cary Douglas

About the Author: Cary Douglas

Cary Douglas is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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