NASA’s Mars InSight lander, which touched down in November, celebrated 100 days on Mars by watching the sun set.
The images that make up this animation were taken on March 10. On Mars time, where days are known as sols and last about 40 minutes longer than their terrestrial equivalents, this sunset wrapped up InSight’s 101st day at work on the Red Planet.
La sonde @NASAInSight vient de célébrer ses 100 premiers sols sur Mars ! Le bras robotique est en train de réaliser un panorama complet du site d’atterrissage, et les images du sol 101 montrent le coucher de notre Soleil sur les déserts immenses et silencieux de la planète rouge pic.twitter.com/NAfj9Wiu97March 11, 2019
The photographs were captured by the lander’s Instrument Deployment Camera. The camera was vital for the robot’s months-long procedure completed in February to lay out its sensitive instruments, which include an ultraprecise seismometer and a self-hammering heat probe.
That heat probe has set off on its journey into the Martian regolith, but it seems to have gotten stuck, according to NASA, which still hopes the instrument will be able to resume digging.
The InSight mission is designed to solve mysteries about the interior of Mars, including its structure and how it formed, which could also shape scientists’ understanding of how Earth formed.
And the robot will see plenty more sunsets — the $850 million mission is scheduled to last about two terrestrial years. That works out to more than a full Martian year: 709 sols all told.