This illustration made by NASA shows the InSight drilling hole in the Mars surface. InSight Map for Interior Design, using…
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. ̵
1; Mars is becoming its first American visitor this year: a three-legged, armed geologist to dig deep and listen to shakes.
NASA’s InSight makes its grand entrance through the glorious mardian sky Monday after a half-month, 300 million-mile journey. It will be the first US spacecraft to land since the curiosity of Curiosity in 2012 and the first dedicated to exploring the subway.
NASA goes with a tried and true method of getting this mechanical mine to the surface of the red planet. Engine burns will slow down their final descent, and the spacecraft will plow down on its rigid legs, which simulates the landings of previous successful missions.
This is where the old school ends with the US $ 1 billion American effort.
When the flight controls in California determine the coast is ready at the landing site – quite flat and stone free – InSights 6-foot arm removes the two main scientific experiments from the landing deck and places them directly on the Mars surface.
No spacecraft has tried
The first time does not end there.
An experiment tries to penetrate 16 meters in Mars, using a self-contained nail of heat sensors to measure the internal temperature of the planet. It would crush the world’s deep record of 8 feet drilled by Apollo Moonwalkers almost half a century ago for moon heat measurements.
The astronauts also left instruments for measuring moon calves. InSight carries the first seismometers to monitor for marsquakes – if available. Another experiment will calculate Mars wobble, which provides clues about the planet’s core.
It will not look for signs of life, past or present; No life detectors are on board.
The aircraft is like a self-supporting robot, says leading researcher Bruce Banerdt from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“It has its own brain. It has an arm that can manipulate things around. It can listen with its seismometer. It may feel things with pressure sensors and temperature sensors, which pulls its own power out of the sun,” he said.
By stamping the inside of Mars, researchers could learn how our neighbor – and other rocky worlds, including the Earth and the Moon – were formed and transformed over billions of years. Mars is much less geologically active than the Earth, and its interior is closer to being in its original state – a tantalizing time capsule.
InSight stands for “revolutionizing how we think of the inside of the planet,” said the NASA science commissioner, Thomas Zurbuchen.
First, the 800-pound must surely come across Mars. This time there will not be a ball bouncing down with the spacecraft inside, as was the case for the Spirit and Opportunity raker in 2004. And there will not be a sky crane to lower the lander as it was for six-wheeled curiosity during its dramatic “seven minutes of terror”.
“It was crazy,” admitted InSight project manager Tom Hoffman. But he noted: “Every time you try to land on Mars, it’s crazy, frankly. I do not think it’s a sensible way to do it.”
No matter how it’s done, coming to Mars and landing there’s hard and unforgivable.
Earth’s success rate at Mars is only 40 percent. It includes planetary flybys dating back to the early 1960s, as well as orbits and landers.
Although it has had its share of flop, the United States has by far the best record. No one else has managed to land and run spacecraft on Mars. Two years ago, a European landlord came in so fast, his descent system asked for a crater to impact.
This time, NASA lends a page from the 1976 twins and 2008 Phoenix, which was also stationary and three-legged.
“But you never know what Mars is going to do,” said Hoffman. “Just because we did it does not mean we’re not nervous and happy to do it again.”
Wind Gusts can send the spacecraft to a dangerous drought during the descent, or the parachute could come together. A dust storm like the one who framed Mars this past summer can prevent InSight’s ability to generate solar power. A leg can span. The arm could cheer.
The ten-hour flight control in Pasadena, California: the six minutes from the time the spacecraft hits Mars’s atmosphere and touchdown. They will have cans of peanuts at hand – a success of tradition dating back to 1964’s successful Ranger 7 moon mission.
InSight enters Mars’s atmosphere at a supersonic 12,300 mph, based on its white nylon parachute and a series of engine burns to slow down for a soft upright landing on Mars’ Elysium Planitia, a significant equatorial plain.
Hoffman hopes it’s “like a Walmart parking lot in Kansas.”
The flattering the better, so the landlord does not tipped over, finish the mission, and so the robot arm can put the science tool down.
InSight Map Exposure Survey Using Seismic Surveys, Geodesy and Heat Transport – Will Be Near the ground, its upper deck is barely a yard or meter above the surface. When the two transcircular solar panels are open, the lander will hold a big car.
If NASA is lucky, a pair of portfolio size satellites can turn InSight since their joint May-Liftoff is able to provide close live updates during the landlord’s descent. There is an eight-minute delay in communication between Earth and Mars.
The experimental CubeSats, dubbed WALL-E and EVE from the animated animation 2008 will zoom past Mars and remain in eternal circulation around the sun, their technology demonstration completed.
If the WALL-E and EVE are dumb, let la news news from NASA orbits in Mars, not so fast.
The first pictures at the landing site should start flowing shortly after touchdown. It will be at least 10 weeks before the science instrument is deployed. Add another couple of weeks for the warmth to bury in Mars.
The mission is designed to last a whole martian year, corresponding to two earth years.
With landing day so close to Thanksgiving, many flight controllers
Hoffman expect his team to wait for Monday to give full and accurate thanks.