The InSight solar panels that generate power for the rover have been covered in dust since they were installed. The mission was supposed to be out of service this summer, but the good weather gave it the opportunity to work on Mars for a few more months.
According to a NASA press release, InSight’s last contact with Earth occurred on December 15. The agency will continue to listen, but after the mission crew was unable to communicate with Earth via the Mars lander, they determined that InSight’s batteries were likely dead, leaving it “functionally dead.”
The device was launched in May 2018 and landed in November of the same year. It was equipped with a seismometer that recorded more than 1,000 earthquakes.
“We’ve seen InSight as our friend and colleague on Mars for the past four years, so it’s hard to say goodbye,” said Bruce Banerdt, the mission’s chief inspector. “But he rightfully retired.”