Ferndale manufacturers assist in Mars landing

30 November, 2018, 13:02 | Author: Amos Gonzales
  • NASA has confirmed that SpaceX will be sending its rocket in June 2019. Credit Twitter

The NASA InSight Lander will spend two years on the planet's surface collecting data.

Plummeting through the atmosphere at over 19,000 kilometres per hour, the latest mission to Mars landed safely on Monday morning, its landing relayed back to Earth in near-real time by two cubesats that raced there to cover the event.

Together, these instruments will study geological processes, said Bruce Banerdt, InSight's principal investigator at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA TV coverage was also shown on the giant screen in New York's Times Square, where crowds huddled under umbrellas in the rain.

The 800-pound (360-kilogram) InSight is stationary and will operate from the same spot for the next two years, the duration of a Martian year.

The mission of the NASA InSight Lander is to investigate and understand Mars' interior, as scientists want to know more about how the planet is constructed.

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It is the first attempt to reach Mars in six years. This one-megapixel photo follows an image sent back that was too dust covered to see the alien planet.

InSight's primary instrument is a French-built seismometer, created to record the slightest vibrations from "marsquakes" and meteor impacts around the planet. Interplanetary missions could carry along their own satellites like InSight did with the MarCOs, increasing communications abilities. But InSight is expected to yield the first meaningful data on planetary seismic tremors beyond Earth. The temperature of the planet will be measured while another experiment will try to determine how Mars wobbles on its axis. Even launching the mission and operating the spacecraft while it was traveling to Mars required the cooperation of scientists in Australia, Spain and the United States. Nearly as many missions to Mars have failed as have succeeded. Normally, this relaying is done using the already existing spacecraft such as NASA's Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter or the European Space Agency's Mars Express.

Next, InSight must open its solar arrays, as Nasa waits until later in the afternoon to learn if that final, crucial phase went as planned. Back then, Mars then was much warmer and wetter, and might have been capable of harbouring early life.

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