CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA's space travel to Mars on Monday spanned a dramatic grand finale in which scientists and engineers hoped to be a soft precise landing on flat red plains.
The InSight Traveler targeted the afternoon touchdown, an anxiety built among those involved in the international effort of one billion dollars.
InSight's dangerous descent through the March atmosphere, after a journey of 482 million kilometers, had abrupt pianos and nerves to the maximum. Although the old professional is in this, NASA last attempted to land on Mars six years ago.
A robotic geologist – designed to explore the mysterious interior of Mars – must move from 19,800 km / h to zero in six minutes, while stretching the Martian atmosphere, coming out of the parachute, burning down its engines and, hopefully, the ground of three legs.
"Landing on Mars is one of the toughest individual jobs people have to do in exploring the planet," said InSight's leading scientist Bruce Banerdt. "It's such a difficult thing, it's so dangerous that there's always a pretty unpleasant chance that something can be wrong."
The Earth's success rate on Mars is 40 percent, counting every attempt to fly, orbiting flights, and landing by the United States, Russia and other countries that have been giving up until the 1960s.
But in the last four decades, the United States has made seven successful landings on Mars. With one unsuccessful touchdown, it's an enviable record. No other country has managed to set up and operate a spacecraft on a dusty red surface.
InSight could NASA win an eighth victory.
It's filmed for Elisium Planitia, a plain near the equator in Mars, which the InSight team hopes is just like parking in Kansas with a few, if any, stones. This is not a rock expedition expedition. Instead, a stationary 800 kilogram peg (360 kilograms) will use its 6-meter robotic arm and put a mechanical mole and a seismometer on the ground.
The self-adhesive mole will be reduced by 16 meters (5 meters) to measure the inner heat of the planet, while the ultra-high-tech seismometer will listen to possible masquerades. Nothing similar to this had any attempts in our little neighbor neighbor, nearly 100 million kilometers away.
No experiments have ever moved robotically from the space ship to the real surface of Marty. No heifer dug up more than a few centimeters, and no seismometer ever worked on Mars.
By exploring the deepest, darkest interior of Mars – which is still preserved from the earliest days – scientists hope to create 3D images that could reveal how the rocky planets of our solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago and why so many different . One of the great questions is what made the Earth so hospitable to life.
Mars once had flowing rivers and lakes; Deltas and Lakebeds are now dry, and the planet is cold. Venus is a stove because of its dense heat-warming atmosphere. Merkur, closest to the sun, has a surface that is positively baked.
Planetary knowledge gained in a two-year InSight operation can even be transmitted to rocky worlds outside our solar system, Banerdt says. Findings on Mars could help explain the kind of conditions on the so-called exoplanets "and how they fit into the story we are trying to understand how the planets form," he said.
By concentrating on the blocks of the planet, InSight has no ability to detect life. This will be left to future rovers. NASA Mars 2020 mission, for example, will gather stones for eventual returns that could prove ancient life.
Because it has been so long since NASA's last Mars decline – rover Curiosity in 2012 – Mars mania does not only involve spatial and scientific communities, but everyday people.
There are planned entertainment events on the coast in museums, planets and libraries, as well as in France, where InSight's seismometer designed and built. Huge NASDAK screen at New York's Times Square starts broadcasting NASA Television an hour before InSight starts in 3 hours. EST touchdovn; The National Air and Space Center of Udvar-Hazi will also be held in Shantilly, Virginia, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The InSight spacecraft was built near Denver by Lockheed Martin.
But a real action, at least on Earth, will take place at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, at the InSight Flight Control team's home. NASA provides a 360-degree 360-degree electronic program inside the control center.
The confirmation of the dot can take several minutes or hours. The smallest communication is between eight minutes between Mars and Earth.
A pair of InSight-sized sized satellite satellites will try to transmit their radio signals to the Earth from the beginning of May, with a potential time interval of less than nine minutes. These experimental CubeSats will fly alongside the red planet without interruption. Signals can also travel directly from InSight to a radio telescope in West Virginia and Germany. It will come closer than NASA's Mars Mars orbit.
Project Manager Tom Hoffman said on Sunday that he is trying best to stay outdoors calm while he is expanding for hours. However, when InSight telephones home from the surface of Mars, it is expected to behave as if his three young grandchildren on Thanksgiving Day, running as crazy and screaming.
"Just to warn anyone who sits next to me … I will free my inner 4-year-old on you, so be careful," he said.
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