Wednesday December 19, 2018
Home Lead Story NASA’s ...

NASA’s Mars InSight Probe Touches Down on Red Planet ‘Mars’

InSight then executed a gravity turn to make sure the lander was in the right position before touching down

0
//
NASA, Microsoft
NASA's InSight spacecraft touches down on Mars. Pixabay
Republish
Reprint

NASA’s InSight spacecraft touched down safely on Mars on Monday, kicking off a two-year mission to explore the deep interior of the Red Planet.

NASA’s online live broadcast reported InSight touched down on Mars at approximately 2:54 p.m. EST (2000 GMT) on Monday, after a six-month, 300-million-mile (480-million-km) journey, Xinhua news agency reported.

It will detect geophysical signals deep below the Martian surface, including marsquakes and heat. Scientists will also be able to track radio signals from the stationary spacecraft, which vary based on the wobble in Mars’ rotation, according to NASA.

InSight is being followed to Mars by two mini-spacecraft comprising NASA’s Mars Cube One (MarCO), the first deep-space mission for CubeSats. MarCO attempted to relay data from InSight as it enters the planet’s atmosphere and lands.

InSight and MarCO flight controllers monitored and cheered for the spacecraft’s successful entry, descent and landing from mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

 Launched on May 5, InSight marks NASA’s first Mars landing since the Curiosity rover in 2012 and the first dedicated to studying the deep interior of Mars.

InSight cruised 301,223,981 miles at a top speed of 6,200 mph, while being followed by two cube satellites, CNN reported.

“We’ve studied Mars from orbit and from the surface since 1965, learning about its weather, atmosphere, geology and surface chemistry,” Lori Glaze, acting director of the Planetary Science Division in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, was quoted as saying by CNN.

“Now we finally will explore inside Mars and deepen our understanding of our terrestrial neighbour as NASA prepares to send human explorers deeper into the solar system.”

NASA, Hubble, Keplar, asteroids
InSight and MarCO flight controllers monitored and cheered for the spacecraft’s successful entry, descent and landing from mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Flickr

InSight robotically guided itself through the landing, outside of a few last minute tweaks by the entry, descent and landing team to the algorithm that guided the lander to the surface.

“While most of the country was enjoying Thanksgiving with their family and friends, the InSight team was busy making the final preparations for Monday’s landing,” said Tom Hoffman, InSight’s project manager.

About 20 minutes before landing, InSight separated from the cruise stage that helped bring it all the way to Mars and turned to position itself for entering the atmosphere.

At 2:47 pm ET, the entry, descent and landing phase began, and InSight entered the atmosphere at 12,300 mph. Peak heating of the protective heat shield reached 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit two minutes later. This is when the intense heat caused a temporary drop in the radio signal from the craft.

Then, the parachute deployed, the craft separated from the heat shield, deployed its three legs and activated radar to sense how far it is from the ground. After getting that radar signal, it separated from the remaining shell and parachute, firing its descent engines known as retrorockets to help slow it down even more, the CNN report said.

Also Read- Obesity Spikes up Asthma Risk in Children

InSight then executed a gravity turn to make sure the lander was in the right position before touching down. It slowed down until it reached a consistent 5 mph. Then, it touched down at 2:54 pm ET.

Nasa’s mission control in California erupted with delight when it became clear InSight was safe on the ground, BBC reported. The probe landed safely on a flat plain known as Elysium Planitia, close to the Red Planet’s equator. (IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2018 NewsGram

Next Story

Rocket Lab is Set To Launch 10 NASA CubeSats

They will be placed in RailPODs aboard the Electron rocket that will ferry them to space

0
Kepler, NASA, tissue
Rocket Lab to launch 10 NASA CubeSats on Sunday. Pixabay

In its first mission for NASA, the American aerospace manufacturer Rocket Lab is set to launch 10 small research satellites, or CubeSats, from New Zealand, the US space agency said.

Owing to bad weather, Rocket Lab was forced to postpone the earlier decided launch on December 12.

Rocket Lab is now targeting the ELaNa-19 launch on December 15 with a launch window opening at 11 p.m. EST from the company’s launch complex on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand, NASA said in a statement on Friday.

The CubeSats were built by three NASA centres, seven universities, and a middle school under the NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites, or (ELaNa-19) mission.

ElaNa-19 is NASA’s first to be completely dedicated to launching CubeSats under the agency’s Venture Class Launch Services program for small-satellite launches.

More than 250 students have been involved in the design, development and construction of the CubeSats scheduled to be flown as payloads on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket.

NASA, Hubble, Keplar, asteroids
Owing to bad weather, Rocket Lab was forced to postpone the earlier decided launch on December 12. Flickr

“The major difference between today’s launch and previous #ELaNa missions is that for the first time, NASA will have a launch completely dedicated to CubeSats rather than having the small satellites ride along with a much larger spacecraft that is the primary mission,” NASA Launch Services Program officials wrote on Twitter on December 12.

The 10 CubeSats are named as CubeSail, CeREs, NMTSat, CHOMPTT, ALBus, STF-1, ISX, RSat, Shields-1 and DaVinci, NASA said.

These are built to standard dimensions of one unit (1U), and can be 1U, 2U, 3U or 6U in size. They generally weigh less than 1.33 kg per U — 6U may be up to 12 kg.

Also Read- Food Poisoning Proves Fatal To 11 People After Eating Temple Food

They will be placed in RailPODs aboard the Electron rocket that will ferry them to space.

After the main payload deploys, the CubeSats will separate from their RailPODs. After 45 minutes in orbit, the CubeSat transmitters will turn on and university ground stations will listen for their beacons, determine their small satellites’ functionality and announce operational status.

CubeSat mission durations and orbital life vary but are anticipated to last at least three years. Upon mission completion, the CubeSats fall to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere, NASA noted. (IANS)