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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.

Also Read- Huawei Plans To Bring New Tablets, PCs to India

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)

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Mars Rover’s Mission Now Over, Confirms NASA

Opportunity landed on Mars on January 24, 2004. First among the mission’s scientific goals was to search for and characterise a wide range of rocks and soils for clues to past water activity on Mars

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Mars Rover 2020. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

NASA has announced the end of its Opportunity rover’s mission, 15 years after its arrival on Mars.

The announcement was made on Wednesday at a press conference at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, following NASA’s last attempt to communicate with the rover on Tuesday night which got no response, Xinhua reported.

The rover last communicated with Earth on June 10, 2018, as a planet-wide dust storm blanketed the solar-powered rover’s location on Mars. It has not been heard from for eight months since then.

Opportunity likely experienced a low-power fault, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault, according to the mission team.

Team members have tried to rouse the rover ever since, and radiated more than a thousand commands to restore contact. However, no signal was heard from again.

“Saying goodbye is hard, but it comes the time,” said John Callas, project manager for Opportunity.

“It is because of trailblazing missions such as Opportunity that there will come a day when our brave astronauts walk on the surface of Mars,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

“When that day arrives, some portion of that first footprint will be owned by the men and women of Opportunity, and a little rover that defied the odds and did so much in the name of exploration,” he said.

Also Read- Know How NASA’s Opportunity Mars Rover Enriched Space Science

The golf-cart-sized rover far exceeded its planned 90-day mission lifetimes. It has worked for nearly 15 years and travelled over 45 km by the time it reached its most appropriate final resting spot on Mars — Perseverance Valley.

Opportunity landed on Mars on January 24, 2004. First among the mission’s scientific goals was to search for and characterise a wide range of rocks and soils for clues to past water activity on Mars. (IANS)