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What's next for NASA's new Mars Lander?

PASADENA, California – NASA's InSight Lander has made it to Mars, but it will take a while before the robot…

PASADENA, California – NASA’s InSight Lander has made it to Mars, but it will take a while before the robot is ready to start its scientific work.

InSight arrived at his new home last afternoon (November 26), with a touchdown on an equatorial plan called Elysium Planitia. Landers will begin to explore the Red Planet’s interior in unrivaled detail – a few months from now.

It will take so long for InSight to distribute and calibrate its two major science instruments, a burrowing heat probe and a series of super sensitive seismometers. This gear must be placed on the Mars surface of the lander’s robot arm, and InSight team members want to make sure they get this important step – no other Mars robot ever done – exactly right. [NASA’s InSight Mars Lander: Full Coverage]

So the researchers will carefully study InSight’s landing site carefully and decide for the best development area. Then, they will train deployment with a test bed master here at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which manages InSights missions.

This work will include the “terraforming” test bed to resemble InSight’s actual environment on the Red Planet, missionary activity led Elizabeth Barrett from JPL yesterday during a post-landing conference here.

Barrett resembled the deployment of a very difficult and high-pitched version of an arcade machine game.

“It’ll take a little longer – you have to take more breaks, to make sure you actually grab the payload before lifting it, and it’s actually on the ground before you drop it,” says Barrett.

InSights arm will actually perform three such locations as it will release a screen over the seismometer package to isolate the instrument from wind and temperature changes, which could interfere with data collection and interpretation.

It takes two to three months to complete the implementation “said Barrett,” and then a couple of months “before InSight is ready to start the Mars Science campaign seriously. The extra time will be needed for the heat probe to hammer up to 5 meters below the surface and to calibrate both instruments properly.

When They are running, the seismometers will be on the lookout for “marsquakes” caused by internal Martian rumblings and meteorite strikes. The heat probe comes under ten it to measure the heat flow at different depths. InSight team members will also learn about the core of Martian by measuring the little wobbles in the planet’s axial additions that they collect by just following InSight’s position over time.

In summary, these observations will reveal a lot about Mars’s internal structure and composition, which in turn will give a great deal of light to how rocky planets generally form and develop, mission group members have said.

InSight has already beamed some information, including a dusty photo of its immediate surroundings. And this little flavor – the stationary lander’s first image from Mars – is great for future data collection. Barrett and other team members said: The area seems to be relatively flat and sandy, without lots of big stones or other obstacles for deployment. [19659005] “We were sure that the first image would help us determine how hard a job we would have to place the instruments,” Barrett said. “And I’m very happy that we seem to make it quite easy – we hope.”

“InSight” is short for “Interior design with seismic surveys, geodesy and heat transport.” The landlord’s surface mission is scheduled to run for a March year, which is almost two years. It will probably take the landlord as long as to gather enough data to address its main goals, group members have said.

Mike Wall’s book on the search for alien life, “ Out There Out There ]” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018, illustrated by Karl Tate ) is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall . Follow us @Spacedotcom or Facebook . Originally published on Space.com .

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