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NASA’s InSight Mars lander accidentally dropped dirt on itself.



On May 22, a Martian mobile robot used its arm to scoop sand on Mars. Then it slowly poured onto itself. The strong winds of Mars grabbed a few grains and smashed them into the machine̵

7;s solar panels. This robot is NASA’s InSight Mars lander, and dropping the sand was no mistake. It may sound counterintuitive. But the space agency aims to clean the lander’s most delicate components by using sand as a tool to remove the entire layer of rust-colored dust that covers the area.

Unlike NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rover, the InSight lander relies on solar energy to gather energy. It stores energy in the battery to provide a constant supply of electricity to critical equipment. Unfortunately, Mars is getting closer to a point further from the Sun in its orbit. Solar energy is dwindling. And the red dust that covered the lander and its solar panels made things even worse.

Mars is often very windy, and as we all know, winds can suck up a lot of dust. Colossal dust storms often cover large areas of the Earth. and sometimes the whole world And that dust likes to settle on solar panels, InSight has no easy way. To clean the solar panel And dust is just what past missions to Mars faced. Due to the gathering of sticky dust and the distant sun from the rest of the year. So the robot keeper decided to try something.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains:

InSight’s team has been figuring out a way to remove dust from solar panels for almost a year. (It was last used when InSight opened the solar panels after landing) to dust it off, but failed.

After that attempt failed. The team came up with a different technique. which sounds very silly The idea is to collect sand and gradually Place it near the solar panel. But do not pile on the panel itself. Scientists attempted this on May 22 at noon, when JPL said the wind was the strongest. The wind blew some grains of sand and bounced off the solar panels. causing a group of dust which was then blown away by the wind

This technique works incredibly well. And while solar panels are not entirely dust-free, But the part affected by the sand release strategy, resulting in a cumulative 30 watt-hours of energy per day on Mars, InSight is in the midst of a two-year mission expansion following its initial two-year main mission. Hopefully the robot will be powerful enough to continue working for as long as necessary.

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See the original article on BGR.com.


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