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Jul. 21 - InSight : News from Mars !

InSights dusty solar panel (Copyright : NASA)

Thanks to the data acquired by Insight’s seismometer, the international team in charge of the mission established, for the first time ever, the internal structure of Planet Mars.

The InSight mission had for main objectives to “understand formation and evolution on Mars” and to “determine the level of tectonic activity”. The first goal is now partly completed thanks to the data collected by the seismometer SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure) for which EREMS developed the pendulum’s counter-reaction electronics (very sensitive analogic electronics) with the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP).

Until now, the Martian ground had never been deeply analyzed. Through SEIS and its resulting seismic analyses, it was established that the crust extends between 20 and 37kms below the surface, the mantel’s width is approximately 1560km and Mars’ core radius is around 1800km.

The ingenious dusting of the solar panels extended the lifespan of the mission for two more years. By pouring sand nearby the solar panels, the bigger grains dragged by the heavy winds carried away most of the fine dust particles covering the panels, thus allowing a gain in power autonomy. This two year extension will undoubtedly allow many new discoveries regarding Mars and its formation.