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NASA's InSight Places First Instrument on Mars

NASA's InSightLander has deployed its first instrument onto the surface of Mars, completing amajor mission milestone. New images from the lander show the seismometer on theground, its copper-colored covering faintly illuminated in the martian dusk. itlooks as if all is calm and everything is bright for InSight, heading into the end ofthe year. "InSight'stimetable of activities on Mars has gone better than we hoped, "said InSightProject Manager Tom Hoffman, who is based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratoryin Pasadena, California. "Getting the seismometer safely on the ground isan awesome Christmas present. " The InSightTeam has been working carefully towards deploying its two dedicated scienceInstruments on Martian soil since landing on Mars on Nov. 26. Meanwhile, theRotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE),som ikke har sitt eget separate instrument, har allerede startet medInSight's radio connection with Earth to collect preliminary data on theplanet's core. Not enough time has elapsed for scientists to deduce what theywant to know &#821 1; scientists estimate they might have some results starting in abouta year. To deploy theseismometer (also known as the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS)and the heat probe (also known as the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe,or HP 3 ),engineers first had to verify the robotic arm that picks up and places InSight'sinstruments on the martian surface were working properly. Engineers tested thecommands for the lander, making sure a model in the test bed at JPLdeployed the instruments exactly as intended. Scientists also had to analyzeimages of the Martian terrain around the lander…

NASA’s InSight
Lander has deployed its first instrument onto the surface of Mars, completing a
major mission milestone. New images from the lander show the seismometer on the
ground, its copper-colored covering faintly illuminated in the martian dusk. it
looks as if all is calm and everything is bright for InSight, heading into the end of
the year.

“InSight’s
timetable of activities on Mars has gone better than we hoped, “said InSight
Project Manager Tom Hoffman, who is based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
in Pasadena, California. “Getting the seismometer safely on the ground is
an awesome Christmas present. “

The InSight
Team has been working carefully towards deploying its two dedicated science
Instruments on Martian soil since landing on Mars on Nov. 26. Meanwhile, the
Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE),
som ikke har sitt eget separate instrument, har allerede startet med
InSight’s radio connection with Earth to collect preliminary data on the
planet’s core. Not enough time has elapsed for scientists to deduce what they
want to know &#821

1; scientists estimate they might have some results starting in about
a year.

To deploy the
seismometer (also known as the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS)
and the heat probe (also known as the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe,
or HP 3 ),
engineers first had to verify the robotic arm that picks up and places InSight’s
instruments on the martian surface were working properly. Engineers tested the
commands for the lander, making sure a model in the test bed at JPL
deployed the instruments exactly as intended. Scientists also had to analyze
images of the Martian terrain around the lander to figure out the best places
to deploy the instruments.

On Tuesday, Dec.
18, InSight engineers sent up the commands to the spacecraft. On Wednesday,
Dec. 19, the seismometer was gently placed on the ground directly in front of
The lander, about as far away as the arm can reach – 5.367 feet, or 1.636
meters, away).

“Seismometer
Deployment is as important as landing InSight on Mars, “said InSight
Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt, also based at JPL. “The seismometer
is the highest-priority instrument on InSight: We need it in order to complete about
three-quarters of our science goals. “

The seismometer
allows scientists to peer into the martian interior by studying ground motion –
also known as marsquakes. Each marchake acts as a kind of flashbulb that illuminates
the structure of the planet’s interior. By analyzing how seismic waves pass
through the layers of the planet, scientists can deduce the depth and
composition of these layers.

“Having
de seismometer på jorden er som at holde en telefon op til din øre, “
said Philippe Lognonné, principal investigator of SEIS from Institut de
Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) and Paris Diderot University. “We’re
thrilled at we are now in the best position to listen to all the seismic waves
from below Mars’ surface and from its deep interior. “

In the coming
days, the InSight team will work on leveling the seismometer, which is sitting
on ground that is tilted 2 to 3 degrees. The first seismometer science data should
start to flow back to Earth after the seismometer is in the right position.

But engineers
and scientists at JPL, the French national space agency Center National d’Études
Spatiales (CNES) and other institutions affiliated with the SEIS team will need
enkele extra weken om ervoor te zorgen dat de ingevoerde gegevens zo duidelijk zijn
possible. For one thing, they will check and possibly adjust the seismometer
long, wire-lined tether to minimize noise that could travel along it to the
seismometer. Da, i begynnelsen av januar, ingenjörer forventer å kommandot roboten
arm to place the wind and thermal shield over the seismometer to stabilize the
environment around the sensors.

Assuming that
Det er ingen uventede problemer, de InSight team planer å deploye den varmesensor
on the Martian surface by late January. HP 3 will be on the east
side of the lander’s work space, roughly the same distance away from the lander
as the seismometer.

For now, though,
The team is focusing on getting those first bits of seismic data (however
noisy) back from the Martian surface.

“We look
forward to popping some Champagne when we start to get data from InSight’s seismometer
on the ground, “Banerdt added.” I have a bottle ready for the
occasion. “

JPL manages
InSight for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. InSight is part
or NASA’s Discovery Program, which is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight
Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the
InSight spacecraft, including its cruise stage and lander, and supports
spacecraft operations for the mission.

A number of
European partners, including CNES and the German Aerospace Center (DLR),
support the InSight mission. CNES provided SEIS to NASA, with the principal
investigator at IPGP. Significant contributions for SEIS came from IPGP, the
Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, the Swiss Institute
of Technology in Switzerland, Imperial College and Oxford University in the
United Kingdom, and JPL. DLR provided the Heat Flow and Physical Properties
Package (HP 3 ) instrument, with significant contributions from the
Space Research Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronics
Poland. Spain’s Centro de Astrobiología supplied the wind sensors.

For more
information about InSight, visit:

https://mars.nasa.gov/insight

News Media Contact

Jia-Rui Cook / Andrew Good
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-354-0724 / 818-393-2433
[email protected]/ [email protected]

2018-293

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