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JPL Celebrates InSight’s Fifth Anniversary on Mars

Published on Monday, November 27, 2023 | 5:50 am

On the fifth anniversary of the InSight lander’s Nov. 26 touchdown on Mars, Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena celebrated the spacecraft’s numerous accomplishments, including the detection of the first-ever “Marsquakes,” comprehensive weather data collection, and the discovery of new clues about the planet’s watery past.

JPL manages the InSight project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL is a division of Caltech.

InSight made history by detecting the first-ever quakes on Mars. Its onboard seismometer measured over 1,300 seismic events, including a magnitude 5 quake in May 2022 that reverberated through the planet for at least six hours.

The spacecraft also carried the first-ever magnetometer instrument to the Martian surface. This enabled it to detect magnetic signals and discover that ancient rocks between 200 feet and several miles below ground are strongly magnetized.

InSight collected the most comprehensive weather data of any mission sent to the surface of Mars. It detected thousands of passing dust devils and provided around-the-clock weather information, including temperature, wind, and air pressure.

The mission also revealed new clues about Mars’ watery past. The Curiosity rover, part of the mission, discovered evidence of ancient lakes and rippled textures created by waves in a shallow lake billions of years ago.

InSight’s mission concluded after more than four years on the Red Planet. The mission aimed to study the deep interior of Mars, taking the planet’s vital signs, its pulse, temperature, and reflexes. It sought to uncover how a rocky body forms and evolves to become a planet by investigating the interior structure and composition of Mars.

For more on InSight’s many discoveries:

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