After a trip to Mars for half a year, NASA's probe will have its famous "six and a half minutes of horror," in which you must have a parachute and downhill pushers to avoid crashes. If everything goes according to the plan, it will only slow down to 2.24 meters per second, and rest on the cushioned feet of the red planet to study its interior. Descent is scheduled for this Monday.
Another possibility is not with the project manager Tom Hoffman. "The team has been working hard for a few years and is ready for that moment and finally we can prepare all our preparations", he summed up.
The entrance door of the probe will be a 10 x 24 km rectangle. A target, which, compared to the 479 million kilometers that it wanted a crossroads, is for the scientists, the football metaphor, "How to make a 130,000 km goal"During the first 25 seconds of approaching, InSight will throw out the heat shield, and for a minute, before touching the Martian desert, he will use his radar to find the speed and distance to the ground.
Despite the optimism, uncertainties exist and are well grounded: only 40% of missions sent by various space agencies to the failed Mars are successful. For this reason, it will be important to enter accuracy but also aerodynamic factors such as gliding and atmospheric variables such as wind speed and atmospheric density.
Although, according to InSight, the US space agency has a wonderful conclusion: it could choose a friendly surface that they think is "the largest parking lot on Mars," the plains of Elysium Planitia. Also, a full-load ship weighing over 360 kilograms and costing about $ 1 billion was prepared by engineers to land in a storm if necessary. "Once it arrives, the Earth team will begin the process to choose the best places to place the scientific instruments", described a specialist.
The mission will seek to explore the interior of the red planet for the first time with two main tools. The seismograph will monitor and analyze soil vibrations caused by earthquakes and meteorite impacts. And a thermal flow probe that will penetrate 15 times more in the ground than any other previous hardware to accurately determine the amount of heat that comes out of its interior.
For NASA, this will be a check to measure "Vital Signs" on Mars through its pulse (seismology) and its temperature (heat flux). "Engineers will take the time to decide the next steps, and once the tools are in place, InSight will spend the next Martian year (26 Earth months) to watch these signs," Hoffman said.
In addition, special cameras will produce high-quality color images, and if that's not enough, two spacecraft, called Mars Cube One, will fly behind InSight and try to pass data and discover a new way of communicating with the Earth.
Why Investigate the Inside of Mars? A few decades ago, several reports found that this should be one of the scientific priorities, and although several missions were proposed in the coming years, no one was able to fly. This is why the international expectations for this Monday: Besides the vital participation of the French and German space agencies that provided the main instruments, the United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Poland also cooperated.
That is, by studying the deep inside of Mars, we can learn how to form other rocky planets such as Earth and the Moon. In short, she is a close relative created by the same primary elements more than 4500 million years ago.
What we learn from this cold, rocky desert world can shed light on our own existence. First and foremost, it will be crucial to fulfill one of the great dreams in the march in the history of conquest of the cosmos: to send a human scientist on the surface of Mars in the coming years.
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