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Six Months After Earth, NASA's InSight Mars lands through the space of about 12,300 mph, spreading in a thin march atmosphere on Monday to start nail chewing six and a half minutes landing on the surface, beginning with the $ 1 billion task of exploring the red planet's hidden interior.
"InSight's goal is to better understand the Earth's birth, the birth of our planet, and we will do it by going to Mars," said researcher Bruce Banerdt.
On Earth, platectonics and continually swinging vault have transformed the deep interior of the planet, fading its history and evolution. But Mars is a smaller planet and far less active than on Earth, while retaining the fingerprints of these earlier processes.
"By drawing these boundaries, these parts of our planet, we can better understand how the planet's formation and how our planet could be one in which we can live and play and be a good time … So we go to Mars."
The last correction was planned on Sunday afternoon by slightly controlling the InSight trajectory and ensured with targeted landing in the Elysium Planitia area.
But like all of Mars's landings, InSight's fully automated descent to 90 million miles is far removed from any direct control – or assistance – from Earth's engineers. In fact, it takes radio signals 8.1 minutes on the way to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, Pasadena, where harassed scientists and engineers are waiting to find out whether the spacecraft has successfully put it on the surface.
"We have done everything we can, we have done everything we can to think, to make sure we succeed," says Tom Hoffman, InSight Project Manager. "But you never know what's going on."
InSight starts closing around 1947 GMT on Monday, braking forces last up to 7.4 times the strength of Earth's gravity as it quickly slows down and heats up to 2700 degrees Fahrenheit.
After four minutes, at an altitude of 7.5 miles and now still moving with the supernatural 928 mph, a 39-foot wide parachute jumps will be filled with power of 15,000 pounds of square feet to slow the boats to much manageable 295 mph or so.
In the long run, the necessary heat shield is left out, reveals the bottom of the sediment to the environment and for 10 seconds thereafter, its three counters open and lock in place.
After a few seconds, about a minute before the paint, the InSight down radar is activated, the spacecraft's altitude and landing speed are measured, and the data is fed to the companion aircraft.
Finally, less than a mile from the surface and lowering about 134 mph, InSight releases aeroshell and parachuting drops freely on its own.
After one second, twelve small rocket engines burn, each producing about 68 pounds of thrust when they turn on and off 10 times per second, first move the spacecraft to the other side to prevent falling parachute and aeroshell.
By resetting the horizontal speed and slowing down at about 5 km / h, InSight is expected to touch Elysium Planitia about 1954 GMT, about 8 pm. local time on Mars.
Fifteen minutes later, after the propellers kicked back to the ground, InSight's two round solar cells opened to start charging spacecraft batteries. The series would produce around 1300 watts of power on Earth, but in Mars, in a relatively dusty atmosphere, they will only dominate from 300 to 600.
The entry, landing and landing order was timed at the same time over NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter overrun programmed to store UHF telemetry that was sent from Insight during sinking onto the surface. This data is stored in the orbit and sent back to Earth about three hours after contact.
Real-time information radiates from two experimental spacecrafts named Mars Cube One – Marco-A and B, which were launched in InSight in May. They are the first so-called "CubeSats" that make the Interplanetary, and are the primary flight controller that can track InSight landing.
Unlike the more complex Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Marco spacecraft, which cost about $ 18.5 million to build, is radio equipment that can take UHF signals from InSight and immediately relay them back to Earth on X-frequencies.
"If it works, two MarCO spacecrafts will be able to provide information about InSight entry, landing, and landing just about when it's great for both the Marco team and the InSight team to find out what's happening right away," said Anne Marina, Mars Cube One Director of JPL.
Whether InSight – an amazing abbreviation for Interior Exploration using seismic surveys, geodesy and heat transfer – sends the computer-generated "hue" directly back to earth after seven minutes of touching its overall health status.
But detailed telemetry will not be available until the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter transmits the stored data three hours after the touchdown. Confirmation NASA's Mars Odyssey Orbiter will normally send solar panels back in approximately five and a half hours after landing.
"I am totally excited and nervous at the same time completely, because the work that we have done so far, makes us feel comfortable that we are going to land on Mars," Hoffman said. "But everything has to go perfectly. Mars could always throw us a curve ball."
But if it works, InSight will pay for the first detailed layout of Mars's indoors. It provides long-term answers to questions about how planets are assembled when the solar system united from the cloud cover 4.5 billion years ago.
InSight is equipped with the two primary instruments provided by the German Space Agency DLR: the Seismic Experiment Interior Structure – SEIS – seismometer supplied by the French Space Agency (CNES) and the Heat Flow and the Physical Properties Probe – HP3. Both instruments paid about $ 180 million to European Space Organizations.
For the equipment to function properly, both devices must be counted on the Mars surface with the robot arm, and both require a fairly flat rock-free area near the bottom of the terrain. The Elysium Planitia landing site was chosen because it provides just that.
"As a landing engineer, we really like this landing place," says InSight's InSight entry, landing and landing at Rob Grover, head of Elysium Planita. "It's flat, it does not have much rocks, it's a very safe place for the country."
Engineers use cameras in the field to closely monitor the area around the spacecraft to ensure they are placed in the best possible location.
But it is not fast.
"It's kind of a relaxed and slow moving task compared to a lot of things we've done before," Banerdt said. "It takes us at least two or three months to get the instruments down. We have to figure out the space in front of our spacecraft, make sure we do not put instruments on rock or hole or anything like that.
"And then we are very, very careful about putting the instruments down … So it will take us a month or two to get the seismometer down and a month or so to get the heat flow sensor down and penetrate down on the surface … We'll probably be waiting next spring, when we are about to begin restoring such a science from Mars. "
The seismometer is able to detect less than the widths of the hydrogen atom, saving the small vibrations of small pirates, meteorites and even small tidal tugs through Mars's two small moons, Phobos and Deimos. out of the planet's interior structure.
The homogeneous temperature sensor goes its way up to 15 meters to measure temperature changes and extrapolates to determine how much heat flows deep from deep.
In the third study, an accurate analysis of radio signals lands at Mars's turn, allowing scientists to determine the exact orientation of their polar axis as it slowly oscillates or passes because the depth is "deep" deep into the interior. From these data, they want to determine the size, density, and composition of the kernel.
The aim is to help researchers understand how the planetary planets of the solar system – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – formed and how they developed into very different worlds today.
"Venus is so hot that it melts the line," Banerdt told last week. "Mercury has a sunny surface, Mars is pretty cold, but the country is a nice place to go for a break." We really want to know why a planet goes one way and the other planet goes in the other direction.
On Earth this structure is "blended up, both with plate technology and convex shell," he said. "And so, evidence of the earliest processes has been wiped out."
But Mars, half of the world where disk technology and jumper are not working, proof of the early history of the planet is still kept in deep indoors.
"These processes that do so will take place during the first tens of millions of years," Banerdt said. "We want to be able to understand what happened, and its clues are on the planet's structure that is born in these early years."