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NASA InSight Lander Witnesses Quiet Beauty of a Mars Sunrise

Good morning, starshine. Mars says hello.

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That distant dot is the sun coming up on Mars as seen by NASA's InSight lander on April 10, 2022.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet.

A sunrise on Mars is a different experience from a sunrise on Earth. NASA's InSight lander, a stationary explorer that has been in residence on the red planet since late 2018, documented the gentle, beautiful moments when the sun comes up on Mars.

"I'll never tire of sunrise on Mars," the InSight team tweeted this week. "Each morning, that distant dot climbs higher in the sky, giving me energy for another round of listening to the rumbles beneath my feet." A GIF shows the glowing orb of the sun as it moved above the horizon on April 10.

InSight has had both challenges and triumphs. Its burrowing "mole" wasn't able to work itself into the ground. The lander has had to limit science operations this year due to a thick covering of dust over its solar panels. But it has given scientists a new view of the planet's interior and tracked the activity of marsquakes.

The lander received a mission extension through the end of 2022. InSight's ultimate end date will depend on the ongoing dust issues. When its mission comes to a close, InSight will be able to rest well knowing it contributed significantly to our understanding of the red planet. And we'll always have this Mars sunrise to remember it by.