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InSight still hangs in, barely

InSight's power status as of October 22, 2022

A new update on the status of the Mars lander InSight was released today, showing its power output daily through October 22, 2022. The graph to the right shows this update. From the report:

As of October 22, 2022, InSight’s seismometer is collecting data again after being switched off to conserve energy after a recent dust storm. The lander was generating an average of 280 watt-hours of energy per Martian day, or sol. The tau, or level of dust cover in the atmosphere, was estimated at 1.45 (typical tau levels outside of dust season range from 0.6-0.7).

These power levels are very low, so low I am surprised the science team thought it was able to start the seismometer again. It could be they expect the lander to fail any moment, and decided to maximize the data it can get in the little time it has left.

A press conference is planned for Thursday, October 27, 2022 to provide an update on InSight’s future, as well it appears to describe a recent discovery (likely the exact moment some recent impacts took place) based on data from InSight and images from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). This was already reported in mid-September, but more impacts might have been identified.

It is also possible the MRO images detected some other change on the surface (not an impact) that InSight’s seismometer picked up. If so, the briefing will be far more interesting.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

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