We Have The First Mars Images From NASA’s Insight Probe

30 November, 2018, 12:21 | Author: Ann Santiago
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NASA To Land Probe On Mars Today — Here's How To Watch And What To Read

Because of the distance between Earth and Mars, it took eight minutes for confirmation to arrive, relayed by a pair of tiny satellites that had been trailing InSight throughout the six-month, 300-million-mile (482-million-kilometer) journey.

Shortly after its landing, the InSight Lander sent a picture back to NASA. Insight, NASA's probe finally reached the Red Planet and it sent back some snapshots home.

The Insight lander touched down near Mars' equator on the western side of a flat, smooth expanse of lava called Elysium Planitia.

The successful landing was understandably met with uproarious celebration from NASA employees.

The lander is powered by two solar panels which unfold on landing.

Working with USA companies is the next step to achieving long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and Mars, NASA said in a statement on Tuesday. On Board there is a seismograph and geophysical thermometer.

"This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints - we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, worlds beyond". On a clear day, the panels provide 600 to 700 watts - enough power to run a kitchen blender and conduct science.

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Over the next few days, the robotic arm camera used by InSight will photograph the ground to help scientists at NASA determine where to place instruments for an upcoming two-year mission.

InSight is also slated to drill five meters into the surface, deeper than any previous study, and place heat sensors every ten centimeters to learn about the evolution of heat flow in the planet's interior. Nearly as many missions to Mars have failed as have succeeded.

While the information gathered will be interesting in providing a better understanding of Mars, the hope is that it will also clue us in on information about Earth, a similarly rocky planet that nonetheless developed quite differently. The lander slowed as it should and appears to have landed correctly.

"I'm embedded in meetings pretty much all day, as we go over the technical details", said Banfield.

"MarCO is mostly made up of early-career engineers and, for many, MarCO is their first experience out of college on a NASA mission", said Joel Krajewski of JPL, MarCO's project manager. Dozens of operations and thousands of lines of code were pre-programmed into the machinery and memory of the spacecraft and by all accounts they executed perfectly.

The twin "Cubesats" tagging along for the flight to Mars represented the first deep-space use of a miniature satellite technology that space engineers see as a promising low-priced alternative to some larger, more complex vehicles.

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