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NASA Launches Podcast That Tracks Lander To Study Mars

The final episode will cover what happens when the team tries to land InSight on the Red Planet

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NASA, Hubble, Keplar, asteroids
Nasa's Opportunity rover might have 'died' on Mars. Flickr

NASA has launched an eight-episode podcast series that follows the InSight mission as the robotic explorer journeys to Mars for a November 26 landing.

The first two episodes of the “On a Mission” series are now available for download, the US space agency said in a statemenet late Tuesday.

The eight-episode series follows the InSight lander as it travels hundreds of millions of miles and attempts to land on Mars on November 26.

“On a Mission” will be the first NASA podcast to track a mission during flight, through interviews with the InSight team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Episode One lays out the odds of reaching the surface safely — fewer than half of Mars missions make it.

NASA, space, red dwarf, hubble
New episodes will be released weekly as InSight gets closer to Mars. Flcikr

“When things go beautifully it looks easy, but it’s really not easy,” said Sue Smrekar, Deputy Principal Investigator for the InSight mission. “Any kind of exploration is just not easy or guaranteed – ever.”

Narrated by host and science journalist Leslie Mullen and InSight team members, each episode blends humour and captivating storytelling to dig into the journey of the lander and the people who have spent years working on it.

New episodes will be released weekly as InSight gets closer to Mars.

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The final episode will cover what happens when the team tries to land InSight on the Red Planet.

If successful, the lander will be the first robotic explorer to study the planet’s “inner space” — its crust, mantle and core — to better understand the early formation of rocky planets in our inner solar system and rocky exoplanets. (IANS)

Next Story

Spacecraft Test Runs into Serious Problems, Smoke All Over SpaceX in Florida

"Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting (issues) like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test"

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spaceX
Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. Pixabay

Thick plumes of smoke rose over a SpaceX facility in Florida during a test fire of a Crew Dragon spacecraft and the issue was serious, it could derail plans to fly astronauts aboard the capsule later this year, the media reported.

SpaceX, which was founded by billionaire businessman Elon Musk in 2002, said the craft was undergoing a “series of engine tests” at a facility in Cape Canaveral on Saturday, and something went wrong during the final stretch, CNN reported.

SpaceX will work with NASA to determine what caused the issue. No injuries were reported.

orbit
The US has not had the technology to fly humans to orbit since the space shuttle programme ended in 2011. Meanwhile, NASA has paid Russia about $80 million per seat to send astronauts to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz capsules. Pixabay

“Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting (issues) like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test,” SpaceX said in a statement.

Crew Dragon is already overdue and more delays could make things tricky for NASA.

It was scheduled to conduct a key test of its emergency abort system in June. And its first crewed mission, which will carry astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, was slated for July, though NASA recently said that timeline was under review.

space craft
Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. Pixabay

The US has not had the technology to fly humans to orbit since the space shuttle programme ended in 2011. Meanwhile, NASA has paid Russia about $80 million per seat to send astronauts to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz capsules.

NASA has also decided to ask the private sector to design and build a new generation of spacecrafts.

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SpaceX and Boeing, which is building a vehicle called Starliner, were awarded contracts worth up to $2.6 billion and $4.2 billion, respectively, in 2014. Both capsules were supposed to start flying in 2017, but they have been hampered with delays.

Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. (IANS)