NASA InSight Kicks Off 6-Month Journey To Mars

05 May, 2018, 23:58 | Author: Grady Montgomery
  • Orbital ATK employees wearing protective clothing

That is changing with NASA's Mars Cube One project, or MarCO. The 1,530-lb (694-kg) spacecraft presently consists of a cruise stage, a lander, and an aeroshell to protect the lander during its hypersonic passage through the thin Marian atmosphere.

The latest seismometer experiment is France-led.

On Saturday, may 5, NАSA space Agency successfully launched the InSight mission to Mars, reports the BBC. Bone said. "We've worked incredibly hard on this mission and to hear it go today and be on its way to Mars ... it's unbelievable to know it's finally going to be making it's journey we've been working so hard for".

The rocket, which will reach Mars by November, is expected to land on a smooth plain close to the planet's equator called the Elysium Planitia.

Lockheed Martin has built propulsive landers since the Viking missions in the 1970s and has participated in every NASA mission to Mars. The spacecraft is now on its coast phase.

The launch drew pre-dawn crowds to Vandenberg Air Force Base and rocket watchers down the California coast into Baja. InSight is readying for booster separation.

InSight, which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will be used to gather information from beneath the surface of Mars, helping scientists to get a better understanding of how rocky planets formed. The lift off is about 14 minutes from the lift off. NASA announces there are no weather constraints. After this, a computerised auto sequencer will take over the countdown so that a number of activities are performed in the precise order.

The InSight is also equipped with two radio antennas that will help scientists track where, exactly, Mars is in relation to the earth, to study how the planet shifts on its poles as it rotates.

InSight will dig deeper into Mars than ever before - almost 16 feet, or 5 meters - to take the planet's temperature. "The spacecraft will be traveling at a Mars relative velocity of approximately 12,500 miles per hour, so we need precise entry flight path angle and orientation of the InSight spacecraft to be able to execute a successful propulsive landing and get the lander to a safe speed of ~5 miles per hour before landing softly on the Red Planet".

The key instrument on board the spacecraft is a seismometer which will be deployed on the Martian ground by a robotic arm.

British government Sam Gyimah said: "The UK is playing an important role in this exciting mission to unlock the deepest secrets of our nearest neighbor in the solar system". However, that container suffered a small leak, and efforts to fix it failed in time to allow the instrument to be ready for its original launch date of March 2016. The snag has since been fixed.



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