Thursday , October 28 2021

Landing on Mars Mars: Insight falls down



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"It was amazing," said one woman, wiping her eyes and taking his colleague's hand. A few minutes later a red and brown picture appeared on the main screen of the control room-the first photograph of Insight from his new home.

A picture sent from Mars by InSight lander is seen on a computer screen in NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

A picture sent from Mars by InSight lander is seen on a computer screen in NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.credit:NASA

"Immaculate," declared JPL's chief engineer, Rob Manning.

"That's what we really hoped and imagined," he said. "Sometimes things work out for you."

A pair of mini-satellites trailed Insight since May in Mayow provides almost real-time updates of the super-descent of the probe through the reddish sky. The satellite also shot back a quick image from the surface of Mars.

The image was damaged by debris stains on the camera cover. But the quick glance at the Vista showed a flat surface with few, if any, rocks just what the scientists had hoped for. Better pictures will arrive in the following hours and days.

This illustration shows the InSight drilling lander into Mars's surface.

This illustration shows the InSight drilling lander into Mars's surface. credit:NASA

"This thing has a lot more to do," said entry engineer, engineer drop engineer Rob Gruber. "But just getting to the surface of Mars is not quite an achievement."

The members of the Mars Insight team, Kris Berwold and Sandy Krasner, are delighted to support the headquarters of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Mars Insight, Kris Berwold and Sandy Krasner, are pleased with NASA's support of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California after receiving confirmation that the Mars Insight lander had successfully touched.credit:AP

The endless phase from the moment a spacecraft strikes the Martian atmosphere to the second that it touches the rusty surface of the red planet is what scientists call "seven minutes of terror."

Landing a spaceship on Mars is as hard as it sounds. More than half of all tasks do not make it safely to the surface. Because it takes more than seven minutes for light signals to travel 100 million miles to Earth, scientists have no control over the process. All they can do is program the spacecraft with their best technology and wait.

charging

Earlier, project manager Tim Hopin said the success of the landing would not be clear for several hours.

"We will definitely have a celebration when we get landed successfully but we are going to have to merge it just a little while we wait about five and a half hours to know for sure that we are in good shape," he said.

InSight will spend 24 months – about one year Mars – using seismic monitoring and temperature readings underground to unlock mysteries about how Mars was formed, and by doing so, the sources of the earth and other rock stars of the inner solar system.

While Earth's tectonics and other forces have erased most of the evidence of early history, most of Mars – about a third of the Earth's size – believe it remains largely static, creating a geological time machine for scientists.

This is NASA's first landing in March in six years.

More to come

AAP, Washington Post

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