February 6, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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Dust storm could end US Marslander InSight

Dust storm could end US Marslander InSight

Space missions to Mars are very challenging. More than half of the planned missions never arrived, and many were blown up over the planet, or more dramatically, crashed into it. But even after a successful landing, Mars remains a tricky place, with continent-sized storms. One of these storms swept InSight in January and recently reappeared covered in dust.

It can be seen that the solar panels are covered with dust as well. As a result, less solar energy is generated, leaving the lander without power. Failure to resolve this issue may result in the end of the task. Cozy idea: InSight actually lasted a year longer than originally expected.

Can’t prevent dust on solar panels? No, because “designing solar panels differently is difficult. Everything that protects solar panels from dust also protects them from sunlight,” says Inge Loes ten Kate, a planetary scientist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Fortunately, a storm can cover more than Everything is in dust.” “Fortunately, the Marslanders Spirit and Opportunity have been blown up again.”

biggest volcano

Mars still has some big mysteries, like why the planet contains the largest volcano in the solar system (Olympus Mons is now extinct), while it has few volcanoes compared to Earth today. By revealing the interiors of both planets in detail, one can discover where the differences come from.

Another open question is where the magnetic field of Mars went. On Earth, the coarse core acts as a kind of dynamo that generates the field, but such a field is almost absent on Mars. A possible explanation – that the liquid core has now frozen – could indeed be eliminated with the new measurement data.

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