Tampa (AFP) – NASA counts down to a nail-biting touchdown Monday of $ 993 million Mars InSight, the first spacecraft…
Tampa (AFP) – NASA counts down to a nail-biting touchdown Monday of $ 993 million Mars InSight, the first spacecraft to listen to shakes and study the interior work on another rocky planet.
Nobody is on board the spacecraft, launched nearly seven months ago and has traveled about 300 million miles (482 million kilometers).
The farmer is the first to come to Mars since 2012, when NASA’s curiosity rover touched to scour the surface and analyze stones for signs that life forms can once inhabited the neighbor of the Earth, now a clear and dry planet.
InSight must survive a tense entry into Mars’s atmosphere, traveling at a speed of 12,300 kilometers per hour and slowly slowing down to just 5km / h.
This entry, descent and landing phase begins at 11: 47 in California (1 947 GMT) – and only half-jokes are referred to on NASA as “Six and a Half Minutes of Terror”.
Of 43 missions launched against Mars, only 18 have made it intact – a success rate of about 40 percent. Everyone who made it came from the United States.
“Going to Mars is really very difficult,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associated Administrator of NASA’s Research Council.
“The exciting part is based on the success of the best team ever landed on this planet, the NASA team with its entrepreneurs and its employees.”
– French seismometer –
The name InSight derives from ” Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport. “
The spacecraft near the waist high, 3.5 meters (one meter), and when its solar collector is deployed, they will span over 20 feet.
Fully powered, InSight weighs more than 800 pounds (360 kg), much the same as a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
The central instrument is an earthquake sensor made by the French Space Agency (CNES).
“This is the only NASA mission so far that is thought of a foreign instrument Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES, told AFP.
” So, it’s a mission that is fundamental to the United States, for France and to improve our understanding of Mars. “
The six earthquake sensors aboard are so sensitive that they should reveal the smallest tremors on Mars, such as weak drag of its moon phobos, influence of meteors and possibly evidence of volcanic activity.
Seismology has taught mankind a lot about the formation of the earth about 4.5 billion years ago, but much of the terrestrial evidence has gone wild for recycling the corps driven by plate tectonics. This process is not on Mars.
The spacecraft also has a self-hammer probe that can dig as deep as 10-16 feet (3-5 meters) and offers the first accurate measurement of underground temperatures on Mars
– Landningsf rhållanden –
InSight built by Lockheed Martin and is modeled after the Phoenix spacecraft that landed near the pole in March 2008.  Like the Phoenix, Insight arrival will be using a parachute. Its heat shield helps slow down the spacecraft and protect against the hot friction of entering the Mars atmosphere.
Its landing site is a plateau called Elysium Planitia, which NASA has called “the largest parking lot on Mars”.
The farmer has to sit upright. And then another important step for the distribution of solar rays, as the landlord’s one-year mission will be completely sold.
NASA should know within a few minutes if the landing went well or not, but must wait more than five hours for confirmation of the solar structure due to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey pattern that can communicate InSights status back to earth.
The first to confirm ping at 2004 GMT Monday eagerly waits for the missionary mission crew at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
“I have a lot of blood sweat and tears invested in this and I’m looking forward to a nice, secure touchdown on Monday,” says Stu Spath, InSight Program Manager at Lockheed Martin.