Saturday December 15, 2018
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Fly your name to Mars aboard NASA’s next mission

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Washington: Mars enthusiasts around the world can send their name to the Red Planet aboard NASA’s in Sight Mars lander which is scheduled to be launched next year. As part of its “fly-your-name” initiative, NASA will adds thousands of names to a silicon microchip headed to the Red Planet. “Our next step in the journey to Mars is another fantastic mission to the surface,” said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC.

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“By participating in this opportunity to send your name aboard in Sight to the Red Planet, you’re showing that you’re part of that journey and the future of space exploration,” he said in a statement. Submissions, available on NASA website, will be accepted till September 8.

The “fly-your-name” opportunity comes with “frequent flier” points to reflect an individual’s personal participation in NASA’s journey to Mars, which will span multiple missions and multiple decades.

The in Sight mission offers the second such opportunity for space exploration fans to collect points by flying their names aboard a NASA mission, with more opportunities to follow. Last December, the names of 1.38 million people flew on a chip aboard the first flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which will carry astronauts to deep space destinations including Mars and an asteroid.

After in Sight, the next opportunity to earn frequent flier points will be NASA’s Exploration Mission 1 the first planned test flight bringing together the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion capsule in preparation for human missions to Mars and beyond. In Sight will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, in March 2016 and land on Mars on September 28, 2016. The mission is the first dedicated to the investigation of the deep interior of the planet.

It will place the first seismometer directly on the surface of Mars to measure Martian quakes and use seismic waves to learn about the planet’s interior. It also will deploy a self-hammering heat probe that will burrow deeper into the ground than any previous device on the Red Planet. “These and other in Sight investigations will improve our understanding about the formation and evolution of all rocky planets, including Earth,” the US space agency said.

(IANS)

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NASA Photographs Mars InSight Lander From Space

The spacecraft will operate on the surface for one Martian year, plus 40 Martian days, or sols, until November 24, 2020

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NASA Photographs Mars InSight Lander From Space. Flickr

NASA has pinpointed the exact landing location of its newly launched InSight lander, using a powerful camera onboard another of the agency’s spacecraft, hovering around the Red Planet.

On November 26, InSight landed within a 130 km ellipse at Elysium Planitia on Mars. However, there was no way to determine exactly where it touched down within this region.

The HiRISE (which stands for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) aboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spotted Martian landscape and ground around the lander on Thursday, NASA said in a statement.

It released three new features on the Martian landscape, which appear to be teal. However, it is not their actual colour, but light reflected off their surfaces caused the colour to be saturated.

“The ground around the lander appears dark, having been blasted by its retro-rockets during descent. Look carefully for a butterfly shape, and you can make out the lander’s solar panels on either side,” NASA said.

HiRISE also spotted the lander’s heat shield and parachute, on December 6 and again on December 11, NASA said.

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InSight will study the interior of Mars, and will explore valuable science as NASA prepares to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars. VOA

They are within 1,000 feet (several hundred meters) of one another on Elysium Planitia, the flat lava plain selected as InSight’s landing location.

Meanwhile, the InSight lander also took a first selfie using the spacecraft’s robotic arm on December 6.

It snapped a mosaic made up of 11 images, which includes the lander’s solar panel and its entire deck, including its science instruments, weather sensor booms and UHF antenna.

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The lander also sent another set of mosaic composed of 52 individual photos, showcasing the “workspace” — the approximately 14-by-7-foot (4-by-2-metre) crescent of terrain directly in front of the spacecraft, NASA noted.

InSight will study the interior of Mars, and will explore valuable science as NASA prepares to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars.

The spacecraft will operate on the surface for one Martian year, plus 40 Martian days, or sols, until November 24, 2020. (IANS)