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Sand Hack powers up the InSight Mars Lander.

we love that part in Apollo 13 where NASA engineers had to insert a square carbon dioxide filter into a round hole. We like every scene of Martian where Mark Watney hacks any hardware whatever he can use to survive on the hostile planet. What we love even more is watching NASA engineers try to hack and instruct the InSight Lander to scoop sand on itself to power its solar panels.

InSight, which recently had a two-year mission to study Mars’ interior geology, recently suffered from dust accumulation on its solar panels. This dust only increases the expected energy loss when the red planet approaches aphelion, the maximum distance from the sun in its orbit. Attempts to shake the panels clearly by stimulating their deploy motors were unsuccessful. Other solar-powered missions have been affected by the Martian winds. However, despite the many gusts, InSight did not see any significant improvements.

contrary to intuition The operator ordered the workers to land slowly. Drop dust and sand from the scoop near the (Not on top of) one of the solar panels. As the wind blows, large particles are carried by the wind through the panels and bounce off the surface. blow away the accumulated dust Although that may sound like a minor effect. But this experiment resulted in an increase of about 30 watts per hour per Sol. The edges are still thin and scientific instruments still need to be disabled to save energy. But this addition alone is enough to delay the shutdown for a few weeks.

There are many exciting missions on Mars right now. Although looking back at the first questioning It’s fun too. And we were amazed at the resources NASA provided for us to enjoy as DIY.

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