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InSight Spacecraft of NASA Reaches Halfway to Mars

The camera will take the first image of Elysium Planitia minutes after InSight touches down on Mars in November

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The stellar debris, approaching and swirling around the object's event horizon, caused the remarkably bright glow. Flcikr

NASA’s InSight spacecraft that is en route to Mars, has passed the halfway mark to its destination and all its instruments are working well, the US space agency said.

InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.

The spacecraft, which crossed the halfway mark on August 6 is expected to land on Mars on November 26 to study the Red Planet’s deep interior, NASA said in a statement on Monday.

The spacecraft has now covered 277 million km since its launch 107 days ago and in another 98 days, it will travel another 208 million km and touch down in Mars’ Elysium Planitia region.

Earlier the lander’s launch and landing were scheduled around Mars’ closest approach to Earth that occurred on July 31.

However, it was delayed by the Martian storm that has engulfed the Planet and has cut off communication with another NASA robot, the Mars rover Opportunity.

NASA
InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport. (IANS)

NASA engineers used this long travel time to plan, activate and check spacecraft subsystems vital to cruise, landing and surface operations, including the highly sensitive science instruments, the statement said.

The instruments aboard the spacecraft include a seismometer, which will be used to detect quakes on Mars, and a self-hammering probe that will measure the amount of heat escaping from the planet’s interior.

It also has cameras to take a “selfie” of the mission’s equipment.

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“If you are an engineer on InSight, that first glimpse of the heat shield blanket, harness tie-downs and cover bolts is a very reassuring sight as it tells us our Instrument Context Camera is operating perfectly. The next picture we plan to take with this camera will be of the surface of Mars,” said Tom Hoffman, InSight Project Manager from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

The camera will take the first image of Elysium Planitia minutes after InSight touches down on Mars in November. (IANS)

Next Story

NASA Planning to Use Blockchain Technology For Air Traffic Management

The prototype demonstrates how this method can be economically and rapidly deployed in a scalable modular environment, Reisman said

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NASA to use Blockchain technology for air traffic management. Pixabay

US space agency NASA is planning to advance its technology by adding Blockchain to secure air traffic services and support, the media reported.

The agency will work with an open source Blockchain platform called “Hyperledger Fabric” that is specifically designed for enterprise transactions that resemble typical air traffic management interactions, Ronald J. Reisman, an aero-computer engineer at the NASA Ames Research Centre, said in a statement.

Blockchain would address the potential issues of privacy, prevent spoofing, denial of service and other attacks, Reisman said.

He asserted that Blockchain presents an engineering prototype that embodies a design and method that may be applied to mitigate security issues.

NASA, Hubble, Keplar, asteroids
Blockchain would address the potential issues of privacy, prevent spoofing, denial of service and other attacks, Reisman said. Flickr

“The design innovation is the use of an open source permissioned Blockchain framework to enable aircraft privacy and anonymity while providing a secure and efficient method for communication with air traffic services, operations support, or other authorised entities,” he noted.

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The new framework also features certificate authority, smart contract support, and higher-bandwidth communication channels for private information that may be used for secure communication between any specific aircraft and any particular authorised member.

The prototype demonstrates how this method can be economically and rapidly deployed in a scalable modular environment, Reisman said. (IANS)