CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Four days later, NASA's InSight spacecraft tried to touch the bull's eye on Mars, zooming in like an arrow that did not turn back.
InSight's six-month and 300 million-mile (482 million-kilometer) trip will be on Monday afternoon in the uncertain finale.
The robot geologist – designed to explore Mars's interior, the core of the surface – has to go from 12,300 mph (about 6 minutes) when it passes through the atmosphere of Mars, drops the parachute, hopefully landed on three feet.
It is NASA's first attempt to land in Mars for six years, and all parties concerned are understandably anxious.
NASA's top research officer, Thomas Zurbuchen, on Sunday confirmed that his stomach is already a handful. The hardest thing is to sit hands and do nothing, he said, except by hoping and praying, everything goes perfectly to InSight.
"Mars landing is one of the most difficult individual jobs people need to do in search of planets," said InSight's leading researcher Bruce Banerdt. "It's such a difficult thing, it's such a dangerous thing that there are always quite unpleasant great opportunities that something can go wrong."
Earth's success on Mars is 40 percent by counting all flights, orbits, and landings departing from the United States, Russia and other countries since 1960.
But the United States has pulled out seven successful Mars dismantling over the past three decades. Only one unsuccessful touch is an enviable record. No other country has been able to set and use the spacecraft on a dusty red surface.
InSight was able to give NASA eighth profit.
It's shooting Elysium Planitia, flat near Mars's equator, that the InSight team hopes is as smooth as the parking space in Kansas seldom if at all, pebbles. This is not a rock collecting expedition. Instead, a stationary 800 kilogram (360 kilogram) calculator uses its 6-meter (1.8-meter) robotic arm, setting a mechanical molar and seismometer to the ground.
The self-contained mole of the pit is 16 meters (5 meters) downward to measure the internal heat of the planet, while the high-tech seismometer listens to possible marsupies. None of this has been attempted before our smaller neighbor, nearly 100 million kilometers (160 million kilometers).
The experiments have never been robotically moved from the spacecraft to the actual Mars surface. No compiler has been dug deeper than a few inches, and no seismometer has ever worked on Mars.
By looking at Mars's deepest, darkest indoors – still in the earliest days – scientists hope to create 3D images that can reveal how our solar system's rock structures formed 4.5 billion years ago and why they turned out to be so different. One of the biggest questions is what made the planet so hospitable.
Mars once had flowing rivers and lakes; deltas and lake families are now dry, and the planet is cold. Venus is an oven because it is a thick, warm-hearted atmosphere. Mercury, mainly sun, is a surface that is positively baked.
The planetary know-how underlying the $ 1 billion Two-Year Operation of InSight could even reach over rocky worlds outside the solar system, according to Banerdt. Mars's findings could help explain the circumstances in these so-called " Exoplanets "and how they fit the story that we are trying to figure out how to make planets," he said.
Focusing on planetary building blocks InSight does not recognize life. It is left for future rovers. For example, NASA's Mars 2020 task collects stones for a possible return, which can be evidence of ancient life.
Since it has been so long for NASA's last Mars landing site – Curiosity Rover in 2012 – Mars mania is catching up not only in space and science but in everyday people.
The exhibitors were designed along the coast to museums, planets and libraries, and in France, where the InSight seismometer was designed and built. The giant NASDAQ display at New York's Times Square begins broadcasting NASA TV one hour before the planned clock in InSight. EST touchdown; including the National Space and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center, Virginia, Chantilly, and Denver's Natural and Science Museum. Lockheed Martin built an InSight spacecraft near Denver.
But real action, at least on the Earth, opens at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, located in InSight's Air Traffic Control Group. NASA offers a special 360-degree online transmission within the control center.
Confirming your address may take minutes or hours. At least there is an eight-minute communication delay between Mars and the country.
A pair of briefcase sized satellites that are in InSight when the start of the May attempt to send radio signals to the Earth and a possible delay time of less than nine minutes. These experimental CubeSats fly past the red planet without stopping. The signals could also travel directly from InSight to radio networks in West Virginia and Germany. It takes longer to hear NASA Mars's tourists.
Project Manager Tom Hoffman said he is trying to stay outdoors in peace when the clocks are rushing. When the InSight phones start from the Martian surface, however, he expects to behave a lot, as his three young sons made a Thanksgiving dinner, running like crazy and screaming.
"It only warns anyone who sits near me … I'm going to give up my 4-year-old parent, so be careful," he said.
.@NASAInSight the mission leaders confirmed that the spacecraft would perform another one-way correction in the past #MarsLanding. This ensures that it travels at right speed and direction by touching down to the right place. More about the final preparations: https://t.co/oTYS7olJ1Q pic.twitter.com/LF8nyaejsQ
– NASA (@NASA) 25 November 2018